Just south of Campus Flemingsberg, three life science companies – Bactiguard, Procella and Smartwise – share the same building. Their proximity to one another makes it possible to combine several different innovations in new forms of treatment.
In the southern part of Flemingsberg, Bactiguard shares a building with two other life science companies: Procella and Smartwise, which are owned by parent company SmartCella Holding, the CEO of which is Johan Rugfelt.
“We see how various innovations from these companies will complement each other in new treatments. Procella is developing new cell therapy treatments that can use Smartwise microcatheters to be delivered to the right place in the body,” Rugfelt says.
Repairing the heart
Procella is developing a new type of cell therapy that repairs damaged heart tissue after heart attacks. The process uses a special form of stem cells that have the ability to mature into healthy, functioning heart cells that replace damaged ones and reduce scar tissue. The new cell therapy treatment is the result of many years of research at Karolinska Institutet.
“We’re currently working closely with AstraZeneca to take our research results on to clinical trials in patients. The potential to offer large numbers of people the opportunity for a better life is huge.”
In Sweden alone, nearly 20,000 people a year are victims of heart attacks.
Delivering chemotherapy drugs
Smartwise is developing the Extruder microcatheter. The catheter makes it possible to reach organs such as the heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys via the bloodstream. Once in place, the catheter can be used to deliver drugs, including chemotherapy for cancer treatment, without causing bleeding.
“We also have a collaboration with AstraZeneca on the development of this technology. The technology has also received initial approval from the FDA,” Rugfelt says.
Clinical trials are now starting to also pave the way for approvals in the EU.
Building a new clean room
The location at Campus Flemingsberg offers several advantages, says Rugfelt. Proximity to research being conducted at Karolinska Institutet is crucial, along with opportunities to carry out clinical trials.
“Flemingsberg offers access to excellent infrastructure with advanced technologies and lab resources. What’s more, some of the country’s leading researchers in advanced therapy drugs work here.”
A new clean room of approximately 250 square metres is currently being built on the lowest floor of the building. The clean room is a prerequisite for taking the next step in the development of Procella’s cell therapies and opens the door for the development of more projects.
“The goal is to have the facility ready during the first quarter of 2023. Our facility will become part of a growing resource of clean rooms in the area, and paves the way for collaborations with more researchers and businesses,” Rugfelt says.