The Swedish company, Longboat Amniotics sees great potential in the mesenchymal stem cells derived from amniotic fluid. Their planned clinical trials in 2020 may lead to a break-through in the future of cell therapy.
The biopharmaceutical company, Longboat Amniotics is taking a patient-centered approach to cell-therapy – using mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) derived from amniotic fluid. The Swedish company hopes to offer life-changing treatments through MSC therapy, and has reason to be optimistic considering stem cell therapies are on the verge of disrupting both academic and industrial settings. In particular, amniotic fluid provides the ideal tissue-specific neonatal cells for cell-based medical treatments.
According to Kåre Engkilde, CEO of Longboat Amniotics, “We want to offer treatments for a broad range of diseases with high unmet medical need, to maximise human health outcomes”.
Sustained focus on premature birth
Longboat has already developed a device that can safely and easily collect amniotic fluid during planned cesarean deliveries. The collection itself takes between thirty and ninety seconds, and from a single donation they can treat 200-300 patients.
We need funding to reach our clinical studies and to generate the right amount of turnover to follow our current plans
Currently, the team is focussed on cultivating lung-like MSC from amniotic fluid to treat respiratory diseases. This is a medical condition with high unmet needs. Although several companies (e.g., AstraZeneca) have tried to develop therapies for respiratory diseases, there is still a high need to offer substantial improvements for quality of life.
Complementing this, Longboat is developing a lung surfactant therapy which is also derived from amniotic fluid. In order for newborn babies to take their first breaths, they require surfactant that is naturally produced in the lungs. However severely premature babies often have limited lung surfactant and need to be supplemented in order to survive and to prevent lung complications, including respiratory disease syndrome later in life. Lung surfactant from amniotic fluid could provide premature babies with advantages over current animal-based surfactant products.
In fact, medical products of human origin can improve treatments in general. According to Engkilde, MSCs from amniotic fluid have several advantages. The cells are not only more potent and tissue-relevant, they are also eliminated by the body after the therapeutic process. In some respects Longboats” MSC development program can be regarded as a platform, as the cells may be the pathway to treating patients with kidney diseases, urinary tract disorders, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, and even lower back pain.
“While our technologies are especially targeted at diseases with no current successful treatment modality, we see a wide range of diseases that can potentially be treated using MSCs and/or surfactant”, Engkilde remarks.
The company”s work is based on research from Lund University in Sweden, and was founded by two clinicians and a stem cell scientist.
Aiming for the stock market
Following the clinical trials on the MSC product for respiratory disease, Longboat Amniotics plans to license or co-develop the product. In this way, the team can generate the financing required to bring the human surfactant and other products from their pipeline into clinical trials for several therapy areas with unmet medical needs.
In Engkilde”s words: “We need funding to reach our clinical studies and to generate the right amount of turnover to follow our current plans”