BII News - BII funds stem cell therapy start-up with DKK 10M

BII funds stem cell therapy start-up with DKK 10M

BII funds stem cell therapy start-up with DKK 10M

The start-up PanCryos joins the Creation House program with a convertible loan of DKK 10M. Soon the company which is led by CEO and co-founder Dr. Jacqueline Ameri will move into BioInnovation Institute to continue the work on developing a new treatment for diabetes patients based on stem cell therapy.

In the past decade, Jacqueline Ameri has been working on developing strategies for differentiating human pluripotent stem cells towards endoderm and pancreatic cell lineages. She co-founded PanCryos in 2014 with Dr. Henrik Semb who is a Professor and Executive Director of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Stem Cell Biology (DanStem) at University of Copenhagen. Jacqueline Ameri has been the driving force in the commercial development of the start-up, that has received grants from both The Novo Nordisk Foundation, the University of Copenhagen and by the Horizon 2020 SME instrument programme of the European Union prior to being accepted in the Creation House. The start-up is also part of the Nordic mentor network for entrepreneurship (NOME).

We asked Jacqueline Ameri a few questions about PanCryos.

What problem do you solve?
We are working on developing a stem cell-based cell therapy to replace the damaged insulin-producing beta cells that are mistakenly destroyed during the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes. Having type 1 diabetes not only creates a mental burden for the patients as they must constantly monitor their disease but also for the parents of young children who suffer from it. Through stem cell therapy patients will in the future be able to live normal lives free of insulin for a best-case of up two to five years after one treatment.

What product are you developing?
We are developing a best in class allogeneic stem cell-based beta cell therapy ‘PanInsula’. Due to our unique process that enables purification and automation our technology eliminates the key hurdles in commercialization of cell therapies: safety, efficacy and cost-efficient manufacturing.

What attracted you to the Creation House program?
Being part of a vibrant start-up environment is what attracted us. I have had to build my own network along the way, and it has been challenging to find the right people who can support us in the commercialization process. Although learning by doing has taught me a lot, I’m now looking forward to joining the experienced people with a commercial background at BII that will be able to help us tackle the initial hurdles that many of the early-stage start-ups. From a personal point of view, I also find it extremely valuable to work alongside people who experience the same challenges as we do and who are passionate about building a start-up.

Scientific Advisor at BII, Hervør Lykke Olsen, will be working with PanCryos in the Creation House program to catalyze the start-up that she believes has the potential to put Denmark on the map.

“We are very proud to have a prestigious start-up like PanCryos in the portfolio. Generating insulin-producing cells to implement in patients with type 1 diabetes is highly challenging and demands scientific excellence and creativity of the research team. Many before them have tried to reach this ambitious goal and have failed for several reasons due to the high complexity of a project like this, she says.

To learn more about PanCryos and get in touch, click here.



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