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New University spin-out developing novel adult stem cell-based Therapies

The University of Liverpool has launched a new spin-out company, TrophiCell, that has developed a revolutionary approach to harness the therapeutic potential of adult Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs).

TrophiCell optimises ‘trophic repair’ – the process by which MSCs secrete factors that promote repair and reduce inflammation in chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and liver disease. TrophiCell has patented a new approach to cell therapy production that can reliably treat a range of diseases at a scale never previously possible with MSCs.

TrophiCell’s underpinning science and intellectual property was discovered by the University of Liverpool’s Professor Anthony Hollander and his team, and offers a new way of generating stem cell therapies. Although MSCs have demonstrated a good safety record in clinical trials over many years, the variation between the small batches derived from different donors has led to an inevitable variability in efficacy. The TrophiCell innovation is based on the ability of MSCs to continue to deliver trophic repair almost indefinitely as they are grown through multiple generations in the laboratory, even when their ability to differentiate into different cell types diminishes. This discovery will enable huge scale-up of MSCs cultured from a single donor source, so eliminating the variability in efficacy that comes from use of multiple donors. This technology enables TrophiCell to generate standardised MSCs, delivering reliable clinical efficacy while retaining the excellent safety profile of adult cells.

To realise the full potential of its technology, TrophiCell will work with specialist Contract Development and Manufacturing organisations (CDMOs) with expertise in high volume production of cell therapies, with medical teams and with clinical trial infrastructure in the NHS and internationally. Professor Hollander is joined by Dr Karen Sullivan, CEO, who has more than 20 years’ experience of leadership in technology commercialisation, and Helen Delahaye, an industry-experienced Operations Director.

Karen Sullivan, CEO of TrophiCell, said:

“There are currently limited treatment options for common debilitating chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis and liver fibrosis. Although, MSC therapies offer innovative treatments for these conditions, their use has been limited by scalability issues and high cost of manufacturing. Trophicell technology overcomes these barriers enabling development of scalable MSC therapies with superior clinical efficacy, simpler route to manufacturing and at a lower cost than previous candidate MSC therapies. Trophicell technology utilises adult MSCs, which are as scalable as induced Pluripotent stem cells – iPSCs – with a better safety profile and a simpler manufacturing process. Ultimately, we believe this innovation will enable us to develop therapies that will make a real difference to patients’ quality of life.”

Professor Anthony Hollander, founder of TrophiCell and University of Liverpool’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research & Impact said:

“As a University, we are committed to translating research into clinical practice and I’m delighted that our stem cell research will have the chance, through TrophiCell, to reach the people who will benefit from it most.”

The company has received investment from the University of Liverpool’s Enterprise Investment Fund (EIF) to provide start-up capital and is currently working on an initial investment round of £7.5M to fund the pre-clinical stage of development.

TrophiCell is supported by the University’s IP Commercialisation Team, part of Research, Partnerships and Innovation, who work with academics to protect and commercialise their research, either via spin-out or licensing. Find out more about TrophiCell at or contact