OxStem Ltd, an Oxford University spinout developing regenerative medicine-based therapies, is launching two subsidiary companies to develop regenerative treatments for diabetes and chronic inflammation, and wound healing.
OxStem Beta and OxStem Immuno are OxStem’s fifth and sixth subsidiary companies. Following the spin out of OxStem in May 2016 from Oxford University, the company has established four subsidiaries, each with a specific disease focus: OxStem Oncology, OxStem Neuro, OxStem Ocular and OxStem Cardio, which are developing treatments for cancer, neurological diseases, ocular diseases and heart disease, respectively. OxStem Beta will build on this with its focus on the treatment of diabetes, while OxStem Immuno is seeking treatments for chronic inflammation and wound healing.
OxStem Beta is co-founded by three pioneering scientists at Oxford University: Dr. James Cantley, Diabetes UK RD Lawrence Fellow at the Department of Physiology Anatomy & Genetics, Professor Steve Davies, Waynflete Professor of Chemistry and founder of OxStem, and Professor Angela Russell, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. OxStem Beta will develop therapeutics which stimulate regeneration of insulin-producing beta cells using small molecules to treat types I and II diabetes.
Meanwhile, OxStem Immuno is rooted in macrophage biology and builds on years of work in Professor David Greaves’ laboratory at Oxford University’s Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. Macrophages are key players in the immune response to foreign invaders of the body, such as infectious microorganisms. They are normally found in the liver, spleen, and connective tissues of the body.
Immuno’s underpinning technology will help stimulate tissue repair in chronic wounds and tackle inflammation. Research underpinning these two new programmes are funded by OxStem and will initially be conducted within the Principal Investigators’ laboratories at the University.
Dr Cantley, Co-Founder of OxStem Beta, said: “Diabetes is a rapidly growing global problem and we need new disease-modifying approaches, like that proposed by OxStem Beta, to tackle the disease. This drug discovery programme has the potential to push back the tide against a debilitating, lifelong condition, and to change lives for the better worldwide.”
Professor Greaves, OxStem Immuno co-founder, added: “Chronic wounds and inflammation cause life-long misery for millions of people. Together with co-founders Steve Davies and Angela Russell, we are working to help these people back to full health through the development of small molecules capable of switching macrophages from an infection-fighting phenotype to a tissue repairing, anti-inflammatory phenotype, with the intention of treating chronic wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers.”
Dr Michael Stein, Chief Executive at OxStem, said: “OxStem has a strong and healthy collaboration with Oxford University and the addition of these two new collaborations with world-class scientists Dr. Cantley and Professor Greaves is a pivotal step in the evolution of OxStem’s business. Our expanded strategic alliance with Oxford University will further augment the translation of OxStem’s breakthrough science towards development of innovative medicines addressing serious unmet medical needs.”