British Columbia’s life sciences industry has risen to the challenge of speedy research into COVID-19 and developing promising treatments that carry significant potential to improve patient outcomes and save lives.
Though some of our numerous institutions and companies have leveraged government funding to embark on new horizons, others are volunteering proprietary technology in the hope of helping fellow researchers attain their goals.
One such company is Vancouver-based STEMCELL Technologies – Canada’s largest biotech company – which donated its human tissue culture systems, known as PneumaCult™, to researchers at China’s Centre for Disease Control. Scientists used the cultures to grow lung airway cells that could propagate SARS-CoV-2, and were subsequently able to isolate the virus and identify its gene sequence – a critical step towards developing a vaccine. STEMCELL continues to support vaccine developments by providing cell culture media and ongoing technical support to researchers around the world.
STEMCELL also played a role in supporting the UBC-led international research team that recently announced a trial drug with promise as a treatment against early infection of the novel coronavirus.
“STEMCELL has always been about developing high-quality reagents and tools that scientists can use in their labs to make their research more efficient and effective,” says Dr. Allen Eaves, founder, president and CEO of STEMCELL Technologies. “Everyone at STEMCELL has dedicated their careers to helping our research colleagues around the world figure out treatments and cures for devastating diseases. I’m very proud of our team at STEMCELL and that a Canadian company is playing an essential role in resolving the COVID-19 pandemic.”
STEMCELL has pledged to develop additional advanced cell culture systems that model different lung cell types, which will further medical understanding of respiratory viruses like COVID-19. The company supports life sciences research globally using high-quality cell culture media, cell separation technologies and educational resources used by scientists performing stem-cell, immunology, cancer, regenerative medicine, microbiology and cellular therapy research.