Nottingham biosciences million pound injection

July 27, 2007

Nottingham's strength as a UK Science City is further underlined today, with news that the Wellcome Trust, the UK's largest medical research charity, has awarded almost £1 million to an innovative biosciences company.

The investment, under the Translation Award programme, will help Nottingham-based RegenTec Ltd to develop commercial products in the rapidly-developing field of regenerative medicine. The company has perfected techniques which could greatly enhance the repair of bone defects and fractures.

RegenTec Ltd was created to build on the world-changing research carried out by scientists at The University of Nottingham, Britain's 'University of the Year'. With support from the East Midlands Development Agency, the company has invented a unique material that works with stem cells and biopharmaceuticals to stimulate the regeneration of tissue in patients.

When injected into the body the material forms a highly porous scaffold structure, which encourages new tissues to form.

The unique scaffold mechanism also assists the delivery of stem cells and drugs without compromising their effectiveness. This offers a substantial opportunity to deliver a cure to patients with bone, liver, heart or nerve tissue defects.

Professor Kevin Shakesheff, Chief Scientific Officer at RegenTec, and Director of The Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at The University of Nottingham, said: "The ability to inject these scaffold materials could significantly reduce the need for invasive surgery in tissue repair.

"It will mean that operation and rehabilitation times could come down significantly. After injection, the porous material we use gradually degrades, leaving behind only newly formed bone tissue."

RegenTec has developed an extensive portfolio of patents and hopes that its injectable technology can reach clinics within three years. Its first product - Injectabone - will be used as a replacement for bone grafting, which can be beset by problems which include a short supply of host bone, chronic post-operative pain, and an increased risk of infection. Injectabone will be launched in the US and European markets for use by orthopaedic surgeons.

The material will then be adapted to help in treatment of many other diseases.

Dr Robin Quirk, Managing Director, said: "Regenerative medicine is a hugely exciting worldwide industry that promises to radically improve many aspects of clinical practice. We have a world-first technology that has a remarkable range of future uses.

"The Wellcome Trust Award is a substantial step forward in ensuring that the UK plays a major role in the commercial and clinical development of regenerative medicine."

Dr Susan Huxtable, Director of Intellectual Property and Commercialisation at The University of Nottingham, said: "The Wellcome Trust Award is recognition of the hard work and creativity of a large team of scientists who have worked at the University of Nottingham and within Regentec over the past five years.

"They are pioneers in terms of their science, but also in ensuring that the expertise and knowledge honed in a research-intensive university can be translated into commercial enterprise, and make a dynamic contribution to well-being and economic growth. We have enjoyed a record year in attracting third party investment to our portfolio of spin-out companies."
-end-
Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is Britain's University of the Year (The Times Higher Awards 2006). It undertakes world-changing research, provides innovative teaching and a student experience of the highest quality. Ranked by Newsweek in the world's Top 75 universities, its academics have won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. The University is an international institution with campuses in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.

The Wellcome Trust is the largest charity in the UK. It funds innovative biomedical research, in the UK and internationally, spending around £500 million each year to support the brightest scientists with the best ideas. The Wellcome Trust supports public debate about biomedical research and its impact on health and wellbeing. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk

More information is available from Dr Rob Quirk, Regentec, E-mail: rquirk@regentec.net Tel: +44 (0)115 912 4335, Fax: 0115 912 4329; Jonathan Ray, Director of Media Relations, University of Nottingham, E-mail Jonathan.Ray@nottingham.ac.uk , tel +44 (0)115 951 5765; or Media Relations Manager Tim Utton in the University's Media and Public Relations Office on +44 (0)115 846 8092, tim.utton@nottingham.ac.uk

University of Nottingham

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