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Genomics Institute to Back Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Company

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Ontario Genomics Institute in Toronto, Canada is investing in Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics, also in Toronto, a company developing a technology for medical treatments with stems cells extracted from umbilical cords. Financial aspects of the investment were not disclosed.

The technology developed by Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics uses human umbilical cord perivascular cells or HUCPVCs that are extracted from the tissue around the blood vessels of the umbilical cord. HUCPVCs are a form of stem cell that can differentiate into the tissues of the musculo-skeletal system, such as bone, cartilage, and muscle.

While the cells are similar to adult stem cells derived from bone marrow, Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics says HUCPVCs are more concentrated than bone marrow stem cells and more potent for wound healing. And because they are harvested from tissue normally discarded at birth, HUCPVCs do not have the ethical concerns sometimes raised by human embryonic stem cells.

Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics was founded in 2004 and is based on the research conducted in and licensed from the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at University of Toronto. John E. Davies, director of the institute’s bone interface research group, is the founder and president of Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics.

Ontario Genomics Institute supports research in genomics and related technologies in Ontario, including investments in for-profit companies. The financing for Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics comes from the Ontario Genomics Institute’s Pre-Commercialization Business Development Fund. That fund supports genomic, proteomic, and associated technologies in the proof-of-concept phase with short-term market potential.

Tissue Regeneration Therapeutics plans clinical trials to test these cells within the next two years. The Ontario Genomics Institute funding is expected to support proteomic and genetic transcription analyses to further understand HUCPVC stem cells for regulatory approval to conduct those trials.

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Text corrected, 13 November 2012

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