This is an exciting addition to my recent interview with Accellta’s CEO, Dr. Itzchak Angel, who highlighted Accellta’s unique technologies for enabling large scale growth of cells in suspension. This interview features insights from Eran Cohen, Accellta’s head of business development and intellectual property (IP) officer.
Mr. Cohen speaks about Accellta’s extremely robust patent position that includes IP licensed from the Alfred Mann Institute at the Technion, as well as new IP that is being originated at Accellta. Founded only three years ago in November 2012, Accellta has an extremely robust intellectual property position with around 60 patents spread across seven different patent families, the majority of which have already been allowed or granted.
To quote Cohen, “Accellta is a small company with the IP of a big company.”
However, it is both the IP position and the unusual know-how within the company that give it its edge, with members of the Accellta team contributing decades of experience in stem cell research.
To learn more about Mr. Cohen’s perspective on Accellta’s pioneering stem cell culture technologies, including how these technologies will impact Accellta’s clients and the stem cell marketplace at large, enjoy this exclusive interview. Contributions from Accellta’s CEO, Dr. Itzchak Angel are also included. Enjoy!
Interview with Accellta’s Head of Business Development & IP Officer, Eran Cohen
Cade Hildreth: Eran Cohen, as head of business development for Accellta, what do you perceive as Accellta’s strengths within the stem cell marketplace?
Eran Cohen: We are actively seeking potential partners and customers, in order to do custom made process development, like Dr. Angel had mentioned. These companies could be regenerative medicine companies, or they could be companies that are involved
with cell therapy and clinical stage research. We are also interested in big pharma, medium sized pharma, and contract research organizations (CRO’s) that do discovery.
As you know, there is a growing trend of shifting from animal models to models that are more relevant to humans. I think that stem cells could be an ideal solution for high-throughput drug screen and development. So, we are putting forth efforts in varied areas and getting interest from different types of companies for custom-made process development.
We are also seeking to educate the scientific community outside of Accellta about our technology and its advantages. Our technology is not obvious to everyone, as stem cells have historically needed feeder cells in order to grow, or some other adherent surface. Now, a small company from Israel is saying that we can grow and expand and differentiate stem cells in suspension using adherence-free, feeder-free methods.
This is not obvious to those who are used to specific methodologies, because it is a technical revolution. In addition, we are not only working to be visible to the companies who we could help, but we also need to explain what this miracle is about.
I am the intellectual property (IP) officer of the company, and it is daily work. We have seven patent families, covering primarily suspension, differentiation, and all types of media to grow, expand, and differentiate stem cells in 2D and in 3D. Accellta is a small and young company with the IP of a big company.
This IP position gives us not only the freedom to operate, but also an exclusivity. If someone wants to grow stem cells in suspension, the company must come to us in order to be able to do that. The potential for growing stem cells in suspension is sky- rocketing and I think the industry is going to know about us and appreciate what we have.
We are also becoming more and more involved in conferences, partnering meetings, and we have in our pipeline poster presentations and other interesting things to share with the world on top of our already established IP.
Cade Hildreth: How many patents do you have?
Eran Cohen: We have seven patent families. There are some patent families in which there are 15 fifteen different types of applications, whereas other patent families have only 7 to 8. In total, Accellta has around 60 patents and this number is constantly growing. Importantly, they are at relatively advanced stages, either allowed or already granted.
Dr. Itzchak Angel: We are currently working actively to expand Accellta’s IP. The majority of the IP that we have currently is IP that we have licensed from the Technion, but we are working to actively submit new IP originating from and developed at Accellta. This will continue to expand our IP portfolio and our dominance in the area of stem cell culture.
Eran Cohen: Yes, and it’s not just IP, it’s also “know how” within Accellta that provides value to our clients and partners. We have many, many “recipes” pertaining to different suspension and differentiation procedures. But it is not enough to just give someone the recipe. The know-how within Accellta is unbelievable, as we have people who have dedicated their lives to stem cell research. In particular, I should give credit to Dr. Michal Amit.
Cade Hildreth: Can you tell me more about your “know how” and how that was acquired by Accellta?
Eran Cohen: Dr. Amit is our chief technology officer (CTO). She came from the famous Stem Cell Center at the Technion, where she was the head of the laboratory. Then she left the Technion and joined us as our CTO. She is one of the founders of Accellta, and her knowledge includes 20 years dedicated to stem cell research.
She is very humble, but she is definitely a pioneer in this field and her know-how about scaling stem cell culture is unbelievable.
So, it is not just our intellectual property, it is also how we manage and implement this IP into our process development. This will also give us a significant advantage as we enter the arenas of 3D printing and tissue fabrication, because we can handle stem cells with an extreme level of expertise.
Cade Hildreth: Accellta is seeking to enter several early stage markets, including 3D printing and bio fabrication. How does your educational process impact your efforts in these markets?
Eran Cohen: Yes, we are small company from Israel. Now we need to educate the large companies from Europe, Japan, and the US. It is a paradigm shift that there is a technology that can now grow cells in suspension, and do it faster, cheaper, and more efficiently while creating stem cell populations that are also high-quality and homogeneous in nature. On top of all that, we can do it in xeno-free and feeder free culture.
Dr. Itzchak Angel: It is extremely important to educate clients, because the laboratories and companies that are using a stem cell are usually very conservative. Once they set up conditions and have an experimental set up where the cells are happy and growing, they are very reluctant to change it. So there is a kind of conservatism in this field which is natural, because it takes a lot of time to find for specific cells the very right conditions and the right growth rates. This produces a lot of conservatism.
It is not simple to tell someone that things can now be done differently. Therefore, we are working very hard to try to break through this wall of conservatism and education is an essential element.
To learn more about Accellta’s revolutionary solutions for better affordability and quality of stem cell culturing, visit Accellta.com.