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The Francis Crick Institute / Axol Bioscience Press Release April 24th 2023

Press Release: April 24th, 2023

Axol Bioscience signs exclusive agreement with The Francis Crick Institute to license iPSC technology.

Today, The Francis Crick Institute signed an agreement giving Axol Bioscience exclusive rights to a methodology to generate human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC) used in drug screening and cardiotoxicity assays.

The technology developed by the Crick is used to generate near-homogeneous populations of hPSC-derived left ventricular cardiomyocytes (LVCMs) with improved structural, functional and metabolic maturity. The initial discovery was protected, funded and further developed towards commercial application in-house at the Crick.  This work has just been published in Cell Reports Methods and the intellectual property has been licensed to Axol Bioscience for both the production and supply of LVCMs, as well as the provision of screening services.

This license agreement clears the way for Axol Bioscience to operate freely within this market, characterised by a complex intellectual property landscape.

Axol statement

Working with The Crick cements Axol’s ability to deliver better human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) models to a global market. The license will enable Axol to operate freely in the cardiotoxicity market, with applications in biotech and pharma for use in drug safety and to de-risk drug development.

Axol Bioscience will also use the Crick technology to develop and commercialise matured hiPSC-derived ventricular cardiomyocyte products and services.

Ash Barnes, CSO, Axol

“With the signing of the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 and increased regulatory acceptance of cell-based assays as a legitimate replacement to in vivo models, the use of hiPSC-derived cardiomyocytes for cardiotoxicity screening is an expanding market. This agreement both enables Axol Bioscience to operate freely on a global basis plus gives us access to new technologies to further enhance our models.”

Crick statements

Dr Andreia Bernardo, Wellcome Trust Career Re-Entry Fellow, Francis Crick Institute

“One of the most gratifying aspects of basic science is that it can lead to discoveries with practical application. We see this clearly with our current work, where our studies of mouse heart development informed our efforts to guide human pluripotent stem cell differentiation towards left ventricle-specific cardiomyocytes. I am enormously grateful for the support of the translation team at the Francis Crick Institute and the funding bodies that made this work possible, and I look forward to new discoveries enabled by these human pluripotent stem cell-derived left ventricle cardiomyocytes.”

Dr Jim Smith, Emeritus Scientist, Francis Crick Institute

“I’m very excited that Axol Bioscience have access to our technology. I see this as the culmination of work started when I was an early career researcher searching for the molecules that drive differentiation in the early amphibian embryo. It is deeply satisfying seeing the same molecules being applied to human pluripotent stem cells (at the right times and the right concentrations) to bring about the formation of a single cell type that can be used for cardiotoxicity testing and cardiac drug discovery.  And even, one day, for regenerative medicine.”

Dr Ranmali Nawaratne, Senior Business Manager, Crick Translation team :

“We are very pleased to have translated this fundamental scientific discovery, so that LVCMs will now be accessible to the wider scientific community, via Axol’s state-of-the art capabilities.”


This work was supported by the Francis Crick Institute, which receives its core funding from Cancer Research UK, the UK Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust.  Additional funding was provided by a Wellcome Trust Career Re-Entry Fellowship to Andreia Bernardo (210987/Z/18/Z), by a British Heart Foundation Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship also to Andreia Bernardo (BHF-FS/12/37/29516), and by a LifeArc grant under the LifeArc-Crick Translation Fund.

About The Francis Crick Institute Ltd

The Francis Crick Institute is a biomedical research centre in London. It was established in 2010 and opened in 2016. The institute is a partnership between the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London, and King’s College London.


About Axol Bioscience Ltd

Axol Bioscience use iPSCs to build more relevant models of human disease, to expand understanding and de-risk drug development. Axol Bioscience supports researchers and the biopharma industry with human iPSCs (axoLinesTM), iPSC-derived cells (axoCellsTM) and custom services (axoServicesTM). Axol products are manufactured under stringent ISO 9001 quality measures with robust scientific expertise and functional data.

Visit us at www.axolbio.com/

For more information on what this means for cardiotoxicity testing, visit our blog here

Commercial enquiries to Jan Turner, Product Manager, Axol Bioscience Ltd jan.turner@xolbio.com (+44) 07792 333009