Azellon to use stem cells in trials for cartilage tear repairs

Meniscal tears involve injury to cartilage tissues in the knee joint.  The current treatment for the majority of tears is the full or partial removal of the meniscus, a procedure that often results in the early onset of osteoarthritis.  The technology behind Azellon was developed by Professor Anthony Hollander over the last five years and has already been proven highly successful in an in-vitro model.

Azellon ( has now been granted approval from the UK regulatory agency, the MHRA, to commence the world's first clinical trial for the treatment of patients with meniscal tears.  The Phase I trial, one of the first in the UK to be approved using stem cells, will treat patients with a cell bandage product seeded with the patient's own, expanded, stem cells.

Azellon was assisted in developing its technology by Angel Biotechnology Holdings plc, (AIM: ABH), which carried out process development and validation work on behalf of Azellon.  Angel Biotechnology (, with facilities at Pentlands Science Park near Edinburgh and a site in Cramlington, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is a full service contract bio-manufacturing partner to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies worldwide.  Angel specialises in advanced biologics including biopharmaceutical proteins and cell therapies, such as cellular vaccines and stem cells.  At present, Angel's products are principally used in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials with a view to becoming the contract manufacturer of choice on a continuing basis.

Gordon Sherriff, Angel’s chief operating officer, said "We are delighted that the work performed by Angel for Azellon has assisted them with their successful submission to the MHRA to conduct Phase 1 clinical trials in the UK.  Angel were able to apply their technical and regulatory expertise to Azellon's ground breaking product process to facilitate and ease their route to clinic. 

"Successfully assisting our clients into the clinic is Angel's core skill.  Contracts such as Azellon and ReNeuron utilize Angel's experience and expertise to expedite their route to clinical.  Each approval for clinical trials received by our clients further boosts Angel's standing in the market as the premier choice for biotechnology companies wishing to take cell therapy projects into the clinic."

Posted on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 under Company News University news