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19 August, 2013 - 10:27 By Tony Quested

Stem cell startup in global rollout

Axol marketing director Naomi Wessel-Carpenter with CEO Dr Yichen Shi

Cambridge stem cell technology startup Axol Bioscience has made a lightning fast opening to its global commercialisation strategy.

Less than a month after shipping its first order, the pioneering UK business has recruited a five-star list of international distributors covering major markets around the world.

Axol’s proprietary brain stem cells are produced from reprogrammed human blood cells, known as iPS cells, and the new distribution network will manage sales and support in the US, Japan, Scandinavia and several territories in mainland Europe including Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

The move marks a strong statement of intent from the young business which is backed by Abcam CEO Jonathan Milner, now also chair of Axol.

Axol – primed to address a $15 billion dollar global neurobiology research market – is regarded as having a significant ethical edge as its products eliminate the need for testing human disease pathologies in animal models.

Axol is applying cutting-edge stem cell technologies to generate high quality human neural stem cells and neurons. Cerebral cortical neurons are implicated in numerous neurological diseases including Alzheimer’s, autism, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury and stroke.

Despite growing support for research in these areas, high quality human in vitro cell models for cortical neurophysiology have been unavailable until now. Axol has led the launch of its technology with a focus on providing both healthy and Alzheimer’s disease relevant human neurons derived from iPS cells.

Axol marketing director, Naomi Wessel-Carpenter, said: “Working with such renowned distribution partners provides a great opportunity to introduce the unique advantages of our iPS cells and differentiation technology to the global research markets.

“We are pleased to partner with such experienced teams, characterised by a history of exceptional customer and technical support.”

Arguably the most influential distributor in the network is United States Biological – headquartered in Boston with a North America-wide spread and a global reach through 70+ distribution partners worldwide. Its customers include most of the leading pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies located in the US and abroad as well as global academic researchers.

President & CEO, Warren Shore said: “The ready-made, well-characterised stem and functional cells derived from iPS cells provided by Axol nicely complement our portfolio of distributed and internally developed products for life science research markets.

“Working closely with the Axol team, we will be able to provide our customers with robust, time saving solutions for their discovery and validation projects.”

Other leading players in the Axol distribution network are Cosmo Bio in Japan, Caltag Medsystems in the UK, Labospace (Italy and UK), Lu-Bio (Switzerland), Biozol (Germany and Austria) and Bio-Mediator (Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway).

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Axol marketing director Naomi Wessel-Carpenter with CEO Dr Yichen Shi

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