Reinnervate plans to recruit 30 staff by June 2011

LIFE sciences company Reinnervate plans to recruit 30 staff by June next year as it launches a breakthrough technology for cell culture work.

LIFE sciences company Reinnervate plans to recruit 30 staff by June next year as it launches a breakthrough technology for cell culture work.

Reinnervate moved into Sedgefield’s NETPark over the summer, and will launch its new alvatex technology in London next week. It allows cell cultures to be developed in three dimensions, rather than the conventional 2D method of growing them on flat sheets.

The company has already signed up its first distributor in LGC Standards, and is in talks with large cell culture companies in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

Chief executive Ashley Cooper said: “Alvatex is a quiet revolution in cell culture. It’s a game-changing technology which enables cell biologists to do things they’ve historically not been able to do before. There’s a chronic demand for this.”

While six to eight of the new employees would be working on the road, 22 or more will be based at the company’s 10,000 sq ft facility in Sedgefield, with more to follow in future years.

Reinnervate started as a Durham University spin-out, and its technology has been developed through research by founding scientist Professor Stefan Przyborski. The management team, including experienced life sciences chief executive Cooper, came on board in 2007 after being introduced by Mike Asher, the former managing director of life sciences support organisation Cels.

Cooper, who has been involved in eight start-ups in this sector, said: “The apparent sudden rise of Reinnervate has been carefully planned over three years and the technology has been researched for nearly eight years.

“For 30 to 40 years cell biologists have been culturing cells on flat plastic plates and that’s a very alien geometry for cells. In nature they grow in very close proximity to neighbours and they lose many of their internal mechanisms when forced to grow in 2D, making them a poor proxy for what’s going on in human tissue.

“This technology allows you to screen your drugs more quickly and cheaply, and we hypothesise fewer animals will need to be tested as a result.”

Reinnervate announced a further £1.8m in equity investment from private investors and Newcastle’s NorthStar Equity Investment in July this year to support its continuing commercialisation.

It has also received R&D funding from One North East, and the development of its production facility and laboratories was project managed by County Durham Development Company .

The alvatex product will be launched at the Cell-based Assays conference at the Marriott Regents Park next week.


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