WideCells Group


WideCells Group signs LOI with medical device company

News Release | Newsroom

November 2016

WideCells Group PLC (‘WideCells Group’ or ‘the Company’)

LOI with medical device company to undertake stem cell research at WideCells’ Manchester Institute of Stem Cell Technology

WideCells Group PLC, the healthcare services company focused on providing stem cell banking services and ground breaking insurance for stem cell treatment, is pleased to announce that it has taken steps to secure a new revenue stream, in addition to the cash flow opportunities outlined in the Company’s prospectus published in July this year, having signed a Letter of Intent (‘LOI’) with Qigenix and its CEO, Dr. Todd Ovokaitys. Qigenix is a California-based clinical stage medical device company which has co-developed a new laser technology designed to increase the homing and integration of stem cells. 

The two parties aim to sign a definitive, binding agreement (the 'Definitive Agreement') before 1 March 2017.  Qigenix has agreed to pay a fee of £100,000 in aggregate to WideCells Group to undertake research work at its Institute of Stem Cell Technology laboratory (‘ISCT’) at the University of Manchester Innovation Centre (‘UMIC’), designed to test Qigenix’s laser technology on cord blood cells to enhance the clinical applications of these cells (the ‘Research Project’).  The first payment of £25,000, which is binding under the LOI, will be paid to WideCells by the end of December 2016.  The remaining £75,000 will be paid in two further instalments, with the final payment due when the research project is completed, which is targeted for Q2 2018.

The ISCT is operated by the Company’s stem cell laboratory division, WideCells, which has been established primarily to retrieve, process and store stem cells from a wide range of human tissues in Europe within its Cryogenics department.  In support of this, the ISCT has recently made an application to the Human Tissue Authority (‘HTA’) for a Human Application Licence (application number 22665).  Additional licence applications for dental pulp and adipose stem cells are planned to be made in 2017.  However, with this LOI now signed, the Company is now applying to the HTA Research Licence to permit it to carry out the Research Project.  The Research Project is planned to begin in H1 2017, subject to the HTA Research Licence having been granted.

Work to establish the ISCT is progressing according to schedule and budget.  It is due to become operational in H1 2017.  The Cryogenics Department, which will handle the freezing and long term storage of stem cells, is currently under development. The Cryogenics Department will have state of the art controlled rate freezing technology along with liquid nitrogen tanks for the long term storage of stem cells.  The storage tanks are constantly monitored and have automatic alarms, which contact WideCells ISCT staff directly in the event of any activities which could affect the quality and safety of the stored stem cells. The Cryogenics Department has constant atmospheric oxygen level monitoring linked to an automatic ventilation system which activates if the atmospheric oxygen levels drop due to the presence of liquid nitrogen. This system is essential for the health and safety of WideCells ISCT staff. The Cryogenics Department also has a bespoke security system, including CCTV monitors, to ensure the safety and security of stored stem cells.

WideCells Group CEO, João Andrade, said, “The signing of the LOI with Qigenix represents a significant milestone in the fulfilment of WideCells’ strategy.  We established the Institute of Stem Cell Technology at UMIC in order to create a stem cell processing and storage facility in the UK, and whilst we continue to make excellent progress in this regard we are delighted to have identified a second potential revenue stream from this facility.  We look forward to announcing completion of the definitive agreement and receipt of our first revenues. Qigenix has co-developed an extremely innovative laser technology, which has the potential to enhance the clinical applications of stem cells, and we are delighted to be able to offer our state-of-art-technology and industry knowledge to further the development of this.  WideCells is committed to broadening access to and combating the financial barriers associated with stem cell treatment and we are consequently delighted to be able to support research and innovation within the sector.”

**ENDS**

For further information, please visit the Company’s website www.widecellsgroup.com, follow us on Twitter @WideCells_Group or contact:

WideCells Group

CEO – João Andrade

Tel:  +351 919 033 171

Vicarage Capital Ltd

Broker – Jeremy Woodgate & Rupert Williams

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3651 2912

Shard Capital Partners LLP

Broker – Damon Heath & Erik Woolgar

Tel: +44 (0) 207 186 9950

St Brides Partners Ltd

PR – Elisabeth Cowell & Charlotte Page

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7236 1177

Notes to Editors

WideCells Group PLC is building an integrated stem cell services company, focused on making stem cell treatments accessible and affordable. The Directors believe that the use of cord blood stem cells for transplant will drive one of the next important phases in medicine and is therefore developing market leading products in complementary, strategic areas which are designed to take advantage of substantial market opportunities in one of the fastest growing segments in the healthcare industry.  With this in mind, it has created three divisions:

  • CellPlan: the world’s first stem cell healthcare insurance plan with financial cover for medical treatment, travel and accommodation expenses and concierge service to manage the treatment process
  • WideCells: a portfolio of best in class stem cell processing storage facilities – in the process of establishing and licensing collection, storage and processing facilities at the WideCells Institute of Stem Cell Technology at the University of Manchester Innovation Centre, UK, which is well positioned to capture an increasing share of the cord blood banking market in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa. Through WideCells Brasil, WideCells also operates a stem cell laboratory in São Paulo, Brazil to access the South American market.
  • WideAcademy: developing an education and training division to promote awareness of the benefits of stem cell storage across the global general practice community.

The Group has built an experienced senior management team that has been integral to the development of its growth and business to date.

Stem Cell Fast Facts:

  • Cord blood (which is taken from the umbilical cord) provides the most effective source of stem cells for families due to it being simple, safe and painless to collect relative to other sources of stem cells such as bone marrow – WideCells will focus on promoting the collection and storage of this.
  • Since 2005, there has been a 300% increase in the number of illnesses that can be treated using stem cells
  • 82 illnesses can currently be treated using stem cell procedures
  • Despite initial storage often costing no more than a few £thousand, actual treatment can cost in the £hundreds of thousands

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) 596/2014 (MAR).

Sources

WideCells Group PLC