Canadian biotech supporting China’s Centre for Disease Control to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine development

Vancouver-based StemCell Technologies, which is touted as one of Canada’s largest biotechnology companies, has been supporting research being done at China’s Centre for Disease Control, which could accelerate vaccine development for COVID-19.

“We are both thrilled and humbled to be able to support the effort to combat this global crisis.”
– Allen Eaves, StemCell

StemCell is providing researchers at the Chinese centre with complementary cell culture media and ongoing technical support from in-house scientists. Human tissue culture systems developed by StemCell were used by the researchers to grow lung airway cells that could successfully propagate the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). According to StemCell, scientists were then able to isolate the virus, obtain the viral gene sequence, and made the data available to researchers globally.

“I was very proud when I first heard that our China CDC customer isolated and identified the novel coronavirus using the PneumaCultTM media that my team developed,” said Juan Hou, senior scientist of pulmonary and R&D at StemCell. “It took researchers three months to identify the SARS virus 17 years ago. This time the virus was isolated, sequenced, and published within weeks. As a scientist, it is deeply fulfilling that my team was able to support China’s novel coronavirus investigation and the research team at the China CDC to help resolve this pandemic.”

Founded in 1993, StemCell is a biotech company that develops specialty cell culture media and cell separation products to support research in a number of medical fields. It provides tools for cell research, including areas like immunology, neuroscience, stem cell, and more. Based in Vancouver, StemCell supports life sciences research globally with more than 2,500 specialized reagents, tools, and services.

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The company noted that it is currently committed to supporting researchers by enabling them to develop treatments for COVID-19, noting that it plans to develop additional advanced cell culture systems for modelling various lung cell types, which has the potential to provide a deeper understanding of the infection method of respiratory viruses.

“These human cell culture systems will provide access to fundamental information in virology, both accelerating the discovery of effective treatments and vaccines, as well as enhancing the ability to be prepared with rapid-response systems in the case of future outbreaks,” the company stated.

“At StemCell, we are Scientists Helping Scientists,” said founder, president, and CEO Allen Eaves. “We work collaboratively alongside researchers around the world as partners in their research programs. We are both thrilled and humbled to be able to support the effort to combat this global crisis, and are committed to continuing our support to prevent this from happening again.”

Image source Unsplash. Photo by Fusion Medical Animation.

Meagan Simpson

Meagan Simpson

Meagan is the Senior Editor for BetaKit. A tech writer that is super proud to showcase the Canadian tech scene. Background in almost every type of journalism from sports to politics. Podcast and Harry Potter nerd, photographer and crazy cat lady.

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