UCL News


UCL signs agreement with Sewon Cellontech to deliver orthopaedic treatments using stem cell therapies

9 February 2007

UCL Business plc and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust (RNOH) have signed an agreement with Sewon Cellontech (SC) of South Korea to collaborate on new laboratories that will develop clinical cell therapeutic treatments for cartilage repair and bone fracture healing.

The techniques use stem cells derived from the patient's own bone marrow and cartilage tissue with the potential to alleviate the need for radical surgery.

The UCL Institute of Orthopaedics and Musculoskeletal Science (IOMS) at the RNOH Stanmore will be the location for the new stem cell regenerative medical laboratories. It is the intention that a joint-venture company will be established between SC and UCL Business. SC plan to provide an investment of £1m to establish a fully-equipped state of the art laboratory to develop stem cells for clinical orthopaedic procedures while UCL Business will secure the funding of an equivalent amount for the provision of commercial infrastructure. It is envisaged that, with the IOMS and its world-leading academics, other cell therapies will feed into the new facility for the benefit of future patients. All of these therapies will be clinically trialled at the RNOH Stanmore.

It is anticipated that this new joint-venture company will lead to the creation of a new technologically advanced enterprise that will be of benefit to the UK's knowledge-driven economy, and it is expected that the therapies developed will lead to significant cost savings for the NHS through a reduction in patient recovery times and rehabilitation costs, also giving patients an enhanced quality of life

Professor Mike Spyer, UCL's Vice Provost for Enterprise, said: "The transfer of knowledge for the benefit of the community is a high priority for UCL. We believe a developing partnership with Sewon Cellontech, through the creation of a joint venture company, will lead to positive outcomes for the university and society in general."

Cengiz Tarhan, MD for UCL Business, added: "It is extremely gratifying to bring together the research base of UCL, the translational research being conducted at RNOH and the very encouraging patient applications of Sewon Cellontech's products to create an opportunity for the benefit of all".

Mr. Cheong Ho-Chang, chairman of Sewon Cellontech, said: "Regenerative medical systems are for the whole world. We wish to advance the field of cell therapy to bridge the gap between pure research and patient wellbeing and we are pleased to partner with UCL in this regard."

Notes for Editors

1. For more information, please contact Dominique Fourniol in the UCL media relations office on 0207 679 9728.