Future watch

Cell shipment and storage medium set to make personalised treatments more accessible

January 17, 2022

A new product developed between Bedford-based Life Science Group Ltd (LSG) and
Coventry University has the potential to transform the delivery of cell and
gene therapy and in the longer term make these cutting-edge, personalised
treatments more accessible.

Cell and gene therapies have the potential to address complex diseases and
disorders, such as motor neurone diseases, and many rare disorders for which
traditional medical treatments are very challenging.

CellShip is a cell shipment and storage medium that has been developed during a
three-year, ~250,000, successful Innovate-UK-Funded Knowledge Transfer
Partnership (KTP).

This medium is a sterile, xeno-free alternative to cryopreservation (the use of
very low temperatures to preserve structurally intact living cells and tissues)
for the transport and short-term storage of cells and contains a non-toxic
additive designed to protect them against shear stress and maintain membrane

Data from initial tests during the product development process shows the
product permits the transportation and short-term storage of a variety of cell
types at ambient temperatures, and is a simple and low-cost alternative to
cryopreservation, allowing for rapid and immediate recovery of cells.

Jenny Murray, Managing Director of Life Science Group, said: “Personalised
medicine is a new approach to healthcare which will revolutionise treatments
over the next 15-20 years.

“If you’re going to have a medicine that is not just available to wealthier
countries you need a way of transporting cells in an affordable and
controllable manner.

“CellShip offers the ability to transport cells at ambient temperatures, which
allows cells to be accurately controlled, to reduce the potentially detrimental
loss of cells, and negates the requirement for the addition of toxic

“CellShip would not exist without Coventry University’s technical and
scientific expertise, their support and access to their world class research
facilities. “We are keen to maintain this relationship as we continue the process of moving
this new product to market through further research and clinical trials.”

The KTP programme is part-funded by Innovate UK and is designed to help
businesses improve their competitiveness and productivity by tapping into the
knowledge, technology, and skills of a university collaborator.

The three-year KTP between LSG and Coventry University was led by Dr Emma
Buick, and overseen by Professor Sebastien Farnaud, Professor in Bio-Innovation
and Enterprise at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Sport, Exercise and
Life Sciences and Professor Derek Renshaw, Professor of Transitional Physiology
at Coventry University’s Research Centre for Applied Biological & Exercise
Sciences within the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

The KTP has been awarded the highest grade of ‘Outstanding’ by The Knowledge
Transfer Partnership, and LSG Ltd has been shortlisted as a finalist in the
‘Partnership between Academia and Business’ category of the Medilink Midlands
Business Awards 2022. The award recognises companies that demonstrate how their
collaboration / partnership has or will enhance current service delivery or
create new ways of delivering healthcare.

Professor Farnaud said: “The work achieved through this KTP is a breakthrough
not only for the scientific community but indirectly for our society as a
whole. “This novel media, which reduces the need for dry ice, and delivers more
suitable cells and tissues for all applications, provides better science at
lower cost and a more sustainable communication and service between scientists,
clinicians and ultimately patients.”

News & Analysis

by Sam Tudor