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18 March, 2019 - 09:01 By Tony Quested

Cambridge cell wizards clinch $555k from Innovate UK

Dr Darrin Disley

Mogrify, the Cambridge company set to transform the future development of cell therapies, has been awarded $555k from Innovate UK. 

The funding will support the application of Mogrify’s bioinformatic approach to transition three cell therapy products to preclinical stage, with potential application in wound healing and oncology immunotherapy. 

Mogrify will utilise its patented systematic big-data approach to identify, from next-generation sequencing and gene-regulatory networks, the sets of highly influential and non-redundant transcription factors (in vitro) or small molecules (in vivo), needed to drive the direct conversion of one mature cell type (e.g. fibroblasts) into another (e.g. T cells). 

The reprogramed cells will then be subjected to a number of functional tests to demonstrate bioequivalence and potential as cell therapies, such as CAR-T for the treatment of cancers. 

At present, cells used in cell therapies either need to be extracted and sorted from the patient themselves or a donor, or derived via experimental protocols that can take several years to develop, all of which can delay cell therapies reaching the clinic. 

Mogrify aims to accelerate this process by using its novel, bioinformatic platform to deliver an efficient, safe and scalable source of cells for the development of multiple personalised regenerative cell therapy products. 
Dr Darrin Disley, CEO of Mogrify, said: “Mogrify’s mission is to place ourselves, and as a result the UK, at the forefront of the next generation of cell therapy companies. 

“By embracing systematic data science approaches built on large-scale transcriptomic, cell regulatory network and epigenetic data we believe better cell therapies can be developed at a lower cost across all therapeutic areas. 

“The funding from Innovate UK will enable Mogrify to expand its portfolio of cell types and extend its reach into new therapeutics areas to address the global cell therapy opportunity, worth an estimated $30 billion.” 

Professor Julian Gough, co-founder and CSO of Mogrify, added: “We have already used our bioinformatic-approach to produce chondrocytes and microvascular endothelial cells by transdifferentiation and speed up the protocols for acquiring astrocytes, neurons and chondrocytes from induced pluripotent stem cells. 

“We are already engaging with companies that would like us to support development of autologous and allogeneic T-cell therapies, and are confident that our technology has the potential to provide a platform technology on which any cell for cell therapy can be developed.”

• PHOTOGRAPH: Dr Darrin Disley, CEO, Mogrify. Picture courtesy – Phil Mynott

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