A Look in Wisconsin’s Regenerative Medicine Excellence at the 2018 Regenerative Medicine Innovation Awards

Monday night, BioForward staff had the chance to attend the 2nd Annual Regenerative Medicine Innovation Awards hosted by UW-Madison’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center and sponsored by WiCell, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Promega.

The honoree for the evening was Dr. Su-chun Zhang. In his illustrious career at UW–Madison, Dr. Su-Chun Zhang has transformed the field of stem cell research; being the first in the world to isolate neural stem cells from embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), a landmark discovery he patented with the help of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) in 2001. In 2015, Dr. Zhang founded BrainXell with help from the Discovery to Product (D2P) program of University of Wisconsin Madison. BrainXell was founded on proprietary technology of directed differentiation of human stem cells (including induced pluripotent stem cells) to highly enriched subclasses of neurons for developing drug discovery / toxicology testing platforms for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry. Looking ahead, BrainXell also hopes to develop stem cell therapy for neurological injuries and diseases.

The evening also provided an opportunity for several local entities in the regenerative medicine space to highlight their progress as well:

Imbed Biosciences

Jeff Dalsin, VP of Product Development at Imbed Biosciences highlighted Imbed’s flagship product, Microlyte AG. Receiving FDA approval in 2016, MicroLyte® Ag Matrix contains antimicrobial silver in the matrix which kills bacteria in contact with the matrix and combats bacteria in deep wound tissue. The conformability of MicroLyte® Ag Matrix means that it remains highly effective even with low amounts of silver, translating to lower toxicity. The largest market they’re targeting is for diabetic foot ulcers.

Regenerative Medical Solutions

Trevor Twose, Consultant for Regenerative Medical Solutions provided an overview of the company’s renowned stem cell research to develop a protocol to grow healthy and resilient pancreatic cells derived human pluripotent stem cells to treat diabetes. Utilizing their media formulation, ProgenMix™, laboratories can cultivate stem cell lines more efficiently and subsequently are able to more effectively use these tools in research. The RMS media formulation works with multiple iPS and embryonic stem cell lines and is able to deliver robust and consistent results. The company is currently raising funds to conduct a Phase 1 trial with their pancreatic cells.

UW Program for Advanced Cell Therapy (PACT)

Focused on healthcare integrated personalized cell technologies for improving health outcomes in children and adults with unmet medical needs, PACT’s goal is to provide point-of-care regenerative medicine solutions to UW Health patients as well as a site to help partners transition scientific discoveries in cell therapy through FDA IND-enabling and Phase I/II clinical studies. Their most recent clinical trial focuses on treatment of CMV infections with viral-specific T cells in pediatric and adult immunocompromised patients.

Congratulations to Dr. Su-Chun Zhang on receiving this award and all the companies who presented on their outstanding work in the regenerative medicine field.

Thank you to UW-Madison’s Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center for hosting the event and showcasing Wisconsin’s leadership in regenerative medicine!