Morphocell Technologies Signs Exclusive License for the Commercialisation of Innovative Stem Cell-Derived Encapsulated Liver Tissue Technology

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Morphocell Technologies Inc. (Morphocell) has negotiated a worldwide
exclusive license agreement with Univalor (the technology transfer
organization of Université de Montréal) for the commercialization of the
stem cell-derived liver tissue technology developed by Dr. Massimiliano
Paganelli at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine. The
agreement focuses on bringing this innovative technology to market, in
order to allow children and adults with liver disease to benefit from
this first-in-class treatment.

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to commercialize this
ground-breaking technology that will lead the way to revolutionizing how
clinicians treat liver disease,” said Dr. Bywater Ekegärd, entrepreneur
and Chief Executive Officer at Morphocell. “The Company is exclusively
licensing the two patents covering this novel technology platform
invented by Dr. Paganelli and his team at CHU Sainte-Justine.” The
Morphocell management team is currently raising funds to bring products
based on Dr. Paganelli’s technology to market.

Morphocell is developing ReLiver™ ELT, an innovative regenerative
medicine product that can be consistently generated from human
pluripotent stem cells. “ReLiver™ shows in vitro functions
comparable to primary human hepatocytes,” explains Bywater Ekegard,
“with the added advantages of unlimited supply, consistent and
long-lasting efficacy, and capacity to withstand cryopreservation.”

“The encapsulation provides immunoisolation, eliminating the risk of
rejection and providing protection against ectopic tissue or tumor
formation” Dr. Paganelli continues; “Preclinical studies showed that
treatment with ReLiver™ allows to effectively replace liver functions,
decreasing mortality by 3 times, preventing and treating hepatic
encephalopathy, and promoting liver regeneration, without the need of
immunosuppression.” The product is stable over time, its liver-specific
functions remaining unaltered >8 weeks, and upon cryopreservation.

One in ten people in Canada has a liver disease, and many of these
diseases progress to liver failure. Currently available treatments for
liver failure are inadequate, and the death rate from liver-related
illnesses is on the rise. Acute liver failure (ALF) consists in a
dramatic loss of liver function that exceeds the liver’s innate
regenerative capacity. It occurs rapidly — days or weeks— usually in a
person who has no pre-existing liver disease. ALF causes serious
complications, including increasing pressure in the brain and coma. It
is a medical emergency that requires hospitalization. Survival rate
without transplantation is <50%. Liver transplantation, the only available treatment for ALF, is complicated by high mortality on the waiting list (>50% for infants), heavy morbidity and lifelong
immunosuppression. Patients with pre-existing liver disease are also
afflicted by complications of liver failure, which cause frequent
hospitalizations, heavily affect the quality of life and ultimately
result in more than 1 million deaths per year worldwide.

The Morphocell implantable therapeutic device is one-product-fits-all
that is administered through a simple surgery. This technology is
capable of transforming the standard of care. “Although this has still
to be proved in clinical trials, we expect that timely implantation of
our stem cell-derived liver tissue through a minimally invasive surgery
will restore liver functions while the patient’s liver regenerates, or a
suitable organ is found, reducing mortality and relieving morbidity
without the need for immunosuppression.” says Dr. Paganelli, pediatric
transplant hepatologist and director of the Hepatology and Cell Therapy
Laboratory at CHU Sainte-Justine.

About Morphocell

Morphocell Technologies Inc. is a regenerative medicine company focused
on the development and commercialization of stem cell therapies and
engineered tissues targeting liver disease. Founded in April 2018,
Morphocell Technologies aims at bringing to market the first effective
treatment for acute, chronic and acute-on-chronic liver failure. www.morphocell.com

About Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine

Founded in 1907 the Centre hospitalier
universitaire Sainte-Justine (CHU Sainte-Justine) is the largest mother
and child centre in Canada and one of the four most important pediatric
centres in North America. This university health centre is affiliated
with the Université de Montréal faculty of medicine and specialises in
Pediatrics and Obstetrics. Sainte-Justine officially became a university
health centre in 1995 and it has, since then, welcomed around 2500
medical students each year.

About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center is a leading mother-child research
institution affiliated with Université de Montréal. It brings together
more than 200 research investigators, including over 90
clinician-scientists, as well as 500 graduate and postgraduate students
focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive
treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center
is part of CHU Sainte-Justine, which is the largest mother-child center
in Canada and one of the four most important pediatric centres in North
America. More on research.chusj.org

About Univalor

Univalor is a university technology transfer organization that
commercializes scientific findings and technological innovations
emanating from some 2,600 researchers at the Université de Montréal and
its affiliated health centres, Polytechnique Montréal and HEC Montréal,
in the areas of pure and applied sciences, engineering, information
technology, management sciences, life sciences, and human health. By
creating links between the university and the business community,
Univalor helps make businesses more competitive, generate revenue for
research and, most importantly, enrich society. www.univalor.ca

Contacts

Media Contact Morphocell Technologies:
Margaret Bywater
Ekegard, President
[email protected]

Media Contact CHU Sainte-Justine:
Florence Meney, Executive
advisor – External communications
CHU Sainte-Justine
Office:
514-345-7707
Cell.: 514-755-2516
[email protected]

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