The Vision – in situ cell programming therapy

OxStem is a developer of cell programming therapies. Its unique approach to regenerative medicine will:

  • Deliver small molecule therapeutics that activate repair mechanisms that already exist within the body

  • Exploit a deep understanding of the chemical underpinnings of stem and progenitor cell function and differentiation

  • Generate a collection of drug candidates to awaken endogenous cells to repair tissues affected by disease or injury

The Business Concept

OxStem is positioned to transform the field of medical therapeutics for what are typically (but certainly not exclusively) age-related conditions, such as Dementia, Heart Failure, Macular Degeneration (the leading cause of blindness in the developed world), Diabetes and Oncology. 

OxStem’s purpose is to spin out companies from the University of Oxford (“Oxford”) and is comprised of an internationally respected top tier scientific team with a strong track record in both translational bioscience and commercialising world-class scientific innovation. The company was established by:

  • Professor Steve Davies, Waynflete Professor of Chemistry

  • Professor Dame Kay Davies F.R.S., Dr Lee’s Professor of Anatomy & Deputy Chair of the Board of Governors, Wellcome Trust

  • Professor Angela Russell, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry

The idea is straightforward – to use the Stem Cell and Medicinal Chemistry expertise within Chemistry and its associated partners at Oxford to identify new classes of drugs that can re-program or stimulate existing endogenous cells – awakening previously defunct or dormant cellular processes. 

At present, most cell therapies are based on in vitro manipulation of the cells and transplantation into the patient. The OxStem hypothesis is that since the body has existing in situ adult stem and precursor cells, using high throughput phenotypic screens (based on cultures of tissue specific cells and targeted compound libraries), we can identify new classes of compounds that are able to stimulate these cells in situ.

In essence, we are combining the territories of stem/precursor cell culture and high throughput/high content screening. The novelty is in the unique combination of know how in large scale stem cell culture, enabling phenotypic screening and preclinical models, together with proven medicinal chemistry expertise.

OxStem, acting as a parent holding company, will spin out and fund the development over time of a series of daughter companies. Each daughter company (or “Stem”) will be focused on a large unmet therapeutic need within different organ systems (e.g. Dementia / Alzheimer’s in the CNS, or Macular Degeneration within the Eye). OxStem will license its intellectual property (“IP”) as well as fund each daughter company.

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