ReNeuron is a UK clinical-stage biotech company developing allogeneic cell-based therapies. CTX neural stem cells are in development for ischaemic stroke disability (Phase II) and critical limb ischaemia (Phase I) and human retinal progenitor cells (hRPC) are being studied for retinitis pigmentosa (Phase I/II). ReNeuron is one of the pioneers in the field of stem cells, having developed proprietary technology platforms, notably based on the CTX neural stem cell line, derived and immortalised from a single donor cell. It is developing these multipotent adult stem cells specifically for allogeneic administration (as opposed to autologous procedures). The final product can be cryopreserved, stored and transported, with a simple procedure to prepare the cells for injection, so offering a genuine off-the-shelf cell-based therapy. There is a clear clinical and commercial appeal in that rather than addressing the symptoms of a disease, stem cell therapy seeks to address the cause of the condition, to effect repair or reversal of the disease through the regeneration of the affected tissue. ReNeuron is funded (£65.7m in cash at 31 March 2016) to pursue pivotal studies with two cell therapy-based programmes. The company recently relocated to a new research and cell manufacturing facility in South Wales (funded by a £7.8m Welsh government grant).
In this interview, CFO Michael Hunt explains the core technology of its business, the stem cell science it is developing, optimising and harnessing to create therapeutic products. He discusses the expected newsflow resulting from its three clinical studies – CTX neural stem cells in development for ischaemic stroke disability (Phase II) and critical limb ischaemia (Phase I) and hRPC (human retinal progenitor cells) for retinitis pigmentosa (Phase I/II). He also explains how last year’s equity fund-raising proceeds are being deployed and where the business is expected to reach clinically as a result of this. Finally, he also outlines an exciting new additional focus of the company – its emerging exosome nanomedicine programme. This programme uses in-house science assets, but is building out a new modality in a new therapeutic area (oncology).