AiVita Biomedical Awarded CIRM Grant for Development of 3D-Transplantable ‘Retinas’
Restoration of visual acuity following transplantation recognized as a major achievement
IRVINE, C.A., July 7, 2016 – AiVita Biomedical, a Southern California-based therapeutic development company, today announced that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has approved the Company to collaborate on an early translational research awards grant for the development of stem cell-derived 3D-transplantable retinas to treat vision loss. The project is being conducted in collaboration with Assistant Professor Magdalene Seiler with the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
AiVita’s role is to manufacture the 3D-retinal organoids and render the process both clinically and commercially compliant using its expert GMP manufacturing, quality and regulatory systems. UCI’s role is to test the product for safety and efficacy in relevant models of retinal degeneration.
The project aims to address deficits common to macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa by using human stem cells differentiated into sheets of retinal tissue to restore visual responses. The team believes this will enable them to treat a greater number of retinal disorders at various stages, as compared to current approaches which can only target limited disease stages through methods such as transient trophic support for degenerating retinal cells within the patient.
“We are proud to have achieved such a major milestone, the restoration of visual acuity in models of advanced retinal degeneration, using a human stem cell population that is ethically procured, renewable and cost effective,” said Dr. Hans Keirstead, CEO of AiVita. “We are very thankful to CIRM for supporting the further development of this important program.”
The total amount for the CIRM grant, Prime Award No. TR4-06648, is $3,998,948.
About AiVita Biomedical
AiVita Biomedical is advancing commercial and clinical-stage programs utilizing curative and regenerative medicines. Built upon expertise in stem cell growth and directed, high-purity differentiation, AiVita Biomedical has engineered safe, efficient and economical manufacturing systems to support the development and commercialization of curative and regenerative medicines. For more information, visit www.aivitabiomedical.com.
About the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center
One of the largest and most technologically advanced stem cell research facilities in the world, UCI’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center was established, in part, through a $10 million gift from Sue and Bill Gross. For more than 40 years, UCI scientists and research and graduate assistants have worked to unlock the potential of stem cells in treating and curing about 70 major diseases and disorders. Advances have led to the world’s first clinical trial of a human neural stem cell-based therapy for chronic spinal cord injury and the first FDA-approved clinical trial using human embryonic stem cells. For more information, visit http://stemcell.uci.edu/.