20 October 2016: Cardiff, UK – Jellagen Pty Ltd, a medical-technology company is pleased to announce that it was awarded the first Boost Cymru (Wales) award for Life Sciences at an awards dinner held Thursday 6th Oct in Cardiff. Boost Cymru was launched in March 2016 by the Life Sciences Hub Wales, with the aim of encouraging new ideas, products or services from businesses, organisations and individuals from across Wales that could go to market within two years.

The business has been awarded a prize fund worth £50,000 thanks to sponsorship from companies including Microsoft, MSD, Greaves Brewster and GE. The winning package includes support, mentoring and funding as well as the opportunity to travel to the US to take part in a senior leadership training course with internationally renowned speakers.

Jellagen entered the competition to support the product launch of the company’s new hydrogel technology platform as a new 3D cell culture assay kit for the lucrative cell culture market. These markets are rapidly growing driven by regenerative medicine R&D and currently valued at US$586M in 2014 and forecast to grow to US$2.2Bn by 2019. The biggest market segment increase will be around the increased use of assay kits, which is forecast to jump to $588M by 2019.

For decades, many researchers have been culturing cells in 2D which although provides a good platform for growing cells, often lack the correct microenvironment leading to disparities between cell and molecular behaviour. A drive towards the development of physiologically relevant 3D cell culture systems is therefore needed to improve the correlation between results obtained in the laboratory in a more life-like environment.

Growing cells in 3D provides a more physiologically relevant microenvironment and it is widely acknowledged that the composition and architecture of the material on which cells are cultured greatly affect cell behaviour. Collagen based scaffolds for example can mimic the natural extra cellular matrix (ECM) found in the body, can be engineered to be biocompatible, biodegradable and non-toxic with a pore structure that facilitates the infiltration of cells and nutrients. The use of such scaffolds for the laboratory culture of cells in a 3D environment is now recognised to offer the potential to enhance our understanding of disease mechanisms and pathology with a resulting improvement in treatment outcomes.

Jellagen is sourcing jellyfish to provide the market with a next generation collagen biomaterial that is perceived safer and more technically versatile than current sources of mammalian and fish derived collagen. Collagen is used in the manufacture of biomaterials due to its ability to form strong fibres and is used in medical applications ranging from wound care and soft tissue repair through to bone grafts as collagen is the body’s chief structural protein. Jellagen’s current range of research grade collagen products are already on market for cell culture application and the business is currently building a cGMP manufacturing capability for medical grade production at its Cardiff based premises coming on line in 2017.

Dr Andrew Mearns Spragg, the Company’s Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer said” ‘It is an absolute honour to be named as the winner of Boost Cymru, and we are humbled to have been chosen from among such impressive competition. We are very grateful to everyone who has supported our business throughout this process, and also to the Life Sciences Hub Wales and the sponsors of Boost Cymru for giving us this opportunity. The process has been both enlightening and immensely valuable, and we are incredibly excited about the future for Jellagen.”