With ongoing clinical trials using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), there is a need for rapid and controlled expansion of the cells to meet demand. Current approaches towards scalable hPSC culture use undefined animal products or expensive human-based proteins. Additionally, these products don’t support single-cell culture – which is necessary for large scale biomanufacturing – and result in only about 30 percent cell survival. Unlike these traditional substrates, VitaCapsule is low cost, free of animal products, and supports single cell viability in both planar (2D) and suspension (3D) culture.

Technology Description

VitaCapsule is a low cost synthetic peptide-conjugated hydrogel system for hPSC manufacturing. The goal of our technology is to enhance the viability of hPSCs, which in turn promotes clonal expansion – generating many copies of a single cell – and enables mass production. Isolated hPSCs do not survive well on their own because they lack cell-cell contact signals, which triggers cell death. VitaCapsule mimics these intercellular interactions using short peptides that bind with hPSCs and then encapsulate them, forming a protective barrier. This support system doubles hPSC survival rate compared to current culture methods.

Advantages

  • Low cost
  • Free of animal products
  • Applicable to both 2D and 3D cell cultures
  • Enhanced viability and pluripotency
  • Protects cells against harsh high throughput conditions

Applications

  • Biomanufacturing
  • Laboratory research involving cell culture

IP Status

Two US provisional patents have been filed.

Stage of Development

We are currently gathering proof of concept data in 2D and 3D, and are working towards developing a prototype.

Notable Mentions

  • Pitt Ventures First Gear