HOUSTON, TX -- (Marketwired) -- 11/11/13 -- ApoCell, Inc. announced that the company has expanded into Europe and established offices and laboratories in Leipzig, Germany to better serve existing clients and capitalize on growing opportunities to provide its leading-edge molecular biomarker detection and analysis services to new European clients. ApoCell also announced a new collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI), a non-profit German research institute, to further develop ApoCell's proprietary circulating tumor cell (CTC) isolation technology, ApoStream® for clinical applications. ApoCell Europe GmbH, a newly formed division of privately-held ApoCell, Inc. will facilitate the partnership with Fraunhofer IZI.
"Our opportunities in Europe continue to grow and have led to this strategic expansion," said Darren Davis, president and CEO of ApoCell. He added that ApoCell's European office will primarily serve to enhance communication and collaboration with existing clients and to develop new clinical trial services business.
ApoCell's Christoph Sachsenmaier, vice president of business development - Europe, will lead activities to expand the biomarker clinical trial services. A molecular biologist by training with a Ph.D. from University of Innsbruck, Austria, Sachsenmaier has more than 20 years of experience in the biotechnology and life sciences sector.
"Christoph has the strong scientific background and in-depth clinical trial experience needed to be a capable leader for our European expansion," said Davis. "We are fortunate to have him as a part of our team."
Davis confirmed that ApoCell's laboratory in Houston will continue to serve as the company's corporate headquarters.
As part of the cooperative project with Fraunhofer IZI, ApoCell will continue to develop the ApoStream® device, optimize technical parameters, improve ease of operation and increase system performance efficiency. "We have declared it our goal to develop a FDA Class I, CE marked investigational use only (IUO) instrument within the next year for use in clinical studies to generate data for in vitro diagnostic applications," said Davis, who serves as managing director of ApoCell Europe GmbH.
As part of the collaboration, Fraunhofer IZI will provide various model systems and analytical procedures in order to test the effectiveness of the isolation method as well as to evaluate the significance of the circulating tumor cells. The respective cells are to be cultivated in the laboratory and thoroughly characterized, both genetically and biochemically. In order to make circulating tumor cells available for prognoses and diagnoses for the purpose of personalized therapy, new biomarkers are to be identified by means of comprehensive genetic and biochemical analyses.
"The technology is intended to help make therapy more effective and cost-efficient. To do this we first have to thoroughly exploit the diagnostic potential of the circulating tumor cells," said Professor Friedemann Horn, head of the Department of Diagnostics at Fraunhofer IZI.
The project, valued at approximately four million Euros, is being funded through the Sächsische Aufbaubank (Saxon Development Bank) with a total of three million Euros coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and also from the Free State of Saxony.
"We are extremely pleased that we have been able to bring on board ApoCell, Inc. -- another well-known, international partner -- to invest in the biotechnology region of Saxony", said Dr. Thomas Tradler, Head of Business Development at Fraunhofer IZI.
Davis noted that ApoCell's continued dynamic growth is fueled in part by the strong interest in ApoStream®, which ApoCell has successfully incorporated into at least 20 ongoing early and late stage clinical trials as part of its biomarker analysis services. The company's proprietary methods provide early proof of mechanism of action and monitor the effectiveness of various types of drugs by measuring biomarker expression patterns in biopsies, blood and rare cell types. Since inception, ApoCell has participated in over 140 Phase I, II, and III clinical cancer drug trials for more than 80 sponsor clients worldwide. A privately-held company, ApoCell was recently named to annual Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing U.S. companies for the third consecutive year.
More information about ApoCell can be found at apocell.com.
Based in Houston, ApoCell (www.apocell.com) is a privately-held specialty clinical research company. Founded in 2004, the firm is a leader in molecular biomarker detection and analysis, leveraging its expertise in the areas of oncology, diabetes, molecular diagnostics and drug development to measure biomarker signatures in clinical trial subjects. The company's proprietary methods provide early proof of mechanism of action and monitor the effectiveness of various types of drugs by measuring biomarker expression patterns in biopsies, blood and rare cell types. The company's facilities are CLIA-certified and compliant with applicable FDA regulations. Since inception, the company has participated in over 140 Phase I, II, and III clinical cancer drug trials for more than 80 sponsor clients worldwide.
About The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI
The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI investigates and develops specific problem solutions at the interfaces of medicine, life sciences and engineering. The Institute practices contract research for biotechnological, pharmaceutical and medical-technological companies, hospitals, diagnostic laboratories and research facilities. Within the Business Units of Agents, Cell Therapy, Diagnostic and Biobanking, the Institute develops, optimizes and validates methods, materials and products. The Institute's core competencies are located in the field of Regenerative Medicine, in particular in the indication areas of oncology, ischemia and autoimmune, inflammatory and infectious diseases. The Institute is clinically oriented and conducts quality checks and the GMP-compliant manufacture of investigational medicinal products. Moreover, the Institute provides support in obtaining manufacturing authorizations and approvals.