Axiogenesis AG and Pluriomics B.V. are combining forces to form Ncardia, the new global authority in cardiac and neural applications of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
Founded in 2001, Axiogenesis AG has Cologne (DE) and Philadelphia (USA) facilities, while Pluriomics B.V. has facilities in Gosselies (BE) and Leiden (NL). By entering into this merger, these European leaders will become the global leader in hiPSC drug discovery and development field, making Ncardia the partner of choice for scientists conducting cardiovascular and neural safety and efficacy projects.
By combining their global client base, the merger of Axiogenesis and Pluriomics will position Ncardia as a leader in standardized, validated iPSC assays for safety, phenotypic screening and disease modelling. For scientists conducting cardiovascular and neural safety and efficacy projects, Ncardia will provide tools to facilitate accelerated development of drugs, while replacing animal studies and putting a “human” aspect back into drug discovery.
According to Felix Haniel, VP Business Development & Sales of Ncardia: “Our vision is to develop products and services that are a complete solution. We will produce human iPSC derived cardiovascular and neuronal cell types and realize validated electrophysiology, biochemistry and contraction based assays. By combining over two decades of experience, Ncardia will offer iPSC assays for safety pharmacology, toxicology testing, drug efficacy screening, phenotypic screening, and disease modelling.”
Founded in 2001 as a spin-off of the University of Cologne, Axiogenesis initially focused on generating mouse embryonic stem cell derived cells and assays. After Yamanaka’s groundbreaking iPSC technology became available, Axiogenesis was the first European company to license and adopt Yamanaka’s iPSC technology in 2010. Now Axiogenesis specializes in human induced pluripotent stem cell products, including in vitro models of healthy and diseased cell types and tissues. In 2014, Axiogenesis founded its American subsidiary in Philadelphia, PA.
Pluriomics has its scientific roots in the Lab of Prof Christine Mummery of Leidens University Medical School, The Netherlands. Stefan Braam, then Christine’s post-doc, realized that stem cell technology was a promising tool to generate human models to support drug discovery and development and to make improved decision during pre-clinical development. Stefan partnered with the serial biotech entrepreneur Herman Spolders, and together they founded Pluriomics.
As a result of this merger, Ncardia’s workforce will include nearly 70 employees and the new company will led by: Stefan Braam (CEO), Heribert Bohlen (CSO), Bernd Fronhoff (COO), Martijn Meijer (CFO), Marijn Vlaming (VP technology) and Felix von Haniel (VP Business Development & Sales). The company has a worldwide operating commercial team to ensure overnight delivery and quick personalized support.
Ncardia is in an exciting position to get safer drugs to patients faster by leveraging iPSC-derived cell types and screening technologies. Through the combined expertise of industry experts Axiogenesis and Pluriomics, the company is positioned to provide assay solutions in a shorter time-frame. Both Axiogenesis and Pluriomics have invested heavily in producing human iPSC products and assays driven by scientific excellence. Through this merger, Ncardia will have the experience and flexibility to provide tailored solutions including specific product formats, QC parameters, and other client requests.
Ncardia will continue to capitalize on the companies capabilities to produce 1 billion cardiomyocytes per week that are QC tested for morphological, functional, and pharmacological parameters and cost-effectively priced.
Building on Axiogenesis proven track record in shipping live cells, Ncardia will launch its “CardioPlate™ is a product line. Cardioplate consists of pre-seeded hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes (Pluricyte® or Cor.4U® Cardiomyocytes) on different plate formats. These plates are ready-to-use for specific assays for predictive safety pharmacology, toxicity testing assays. They will support our clients to save time, reduce risk and to increase the reproducibility of their assays. This innovative product will be available from next weeks Safety Pharmacology Society meeting in Berlin”.
Similarly, it will leverage the companies public private partnership aimed at the further development of its technology platforms. In 2016, Pluriomics secured a €2.0M Eurostars consortium as coordinator for a project that aims to develop a novel in vitro organ-on- a-chip heart failure model for drug discovery and development. The Ncardia Product portfolio will also be boosted by the Metacell Consortium which is formed by industrial partners Luxcel, Axiogenesis and BMG Labtech and Academic labs from Oxford and Imperial College London and supported by €2.5m funding from the European commission under the H2020 Fast Track to Innovation (FTI) pilot to develop and launch a cell metabolism analysis platform that is predicted to be part of routine in vitro cell biology and drug development. Pluriomicis was also awarded a €3.2M prestigious EU SME instrument grant to advance cardiovascular drug discovery, in order to reduce the development length, costs and late stage attrition of novel drug candidates. As drug development companies continue to seek out “humanized” assays, Ncardia is uniquely positioned as to become the trusted leader in human iPSC based drug discovery solutions.