CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN) and LabCentral announced today that Platelet BioGenesis is an Amgen's 2016 winner of the highly competitive Golden Ticket award, which underwrites the cost of a lab bench for a Platelet BioGenesis scientist in LabCentral's open lab for one year. LabCentral is an innovative, shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for premier high-impact life-sciences and biotech startups. As one of LabCentral's platinum sponsors, Amgen can nominate up to two early-stage companies to take up residence in LabCentral's Kendall Square facilities in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Platelet BioGenesis is a Harvard spin-out that is developing pluripotent stem cell-derived (donor-independent) human platelets to replace the donor-based blood system. The company aims to expand life-saving platelet availability and transfusions beyond developed countries by making sterile, longer-lasting platelets available on-demand. Traditional, human-donor-sourced platelets, critical for blood clotting and wound healing, must be stored at room temperature, and are at risk of bacterial and viral contamination on collection, which limits their shelf life to five days before accounting for screening and transportation. Platelet BioGenesis is mimicking how human bone marrow triggers platelet production from megakaryocytes (parent cells). The company's approach is designed to reduce costs and improve platelet purity to produce superior platelets that are immune compatible (don't trigger adverse immune reactions), bacterial/viral-free − and ultimately − safer for human infusion.
"Amgen is pleased to award another innovative company with the Golden Ticket," said Aine Hanly, vice president, Process Development and site head, Amgen Massachusetts. "Awarding Platelet BioGenesis with the third Golden Ticket – along with original winners Novopyxis and Cocoon Biotech – is reflective of the diverse approach to innovation that occurs naturally within Cambridge. Amgen is excited to enable Platelet BioGenesis to continue further research in advancing unique approaches to treatments for serious conditions."
"We know the Platelet BioGenesis team well from their days at MassChallenge and so we're delighted that Amgen has selected the company as a 2016 Golden Ticket winner – it's an excellent choice," commented LabCentral Co-Founder and President Johannes Fruehauf. "They will thrive in the shared work environment here, where on any given day a thorny problem might be solved during an impromptu 'hack' initiated during a coffee-machine discussion, or an entrepreneur might get advice from a visiting VC executive, or s/he may even find inspiration through one of our changing exhibits of local artists."
"We couldn't be more pleased. Platelet BioGenesis has been making tremendous progress in such a short period of time, and the Golden Ticket award represents an opportunity for us to accelerate our work further and continue to grow our company in an ideal location," said Platelet BioGenesis CEO and Co-Founder Jonathan N. Thon, Ph.D. "The stem cell field has caught fire and finally something that was once a dream is suddenly approaching a reality. We're proud to be leading this change. This is one more important step in our mission to develop a sustainable, donor-free blood system." In addition to his role at Platelet BioGenesis, Dr. Thon is also an assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
About Platelet BioGenesis (www.plateletbiogenesis.com; twitter @plateletbiogen)
Platelet BioGenesis is a pre-clinical stage biotech company that was spun out of Harvard in 2014 to produce donor-independent human platelets from pluripotent stem cells. Platelet BioGenesis has developed and patented a microfluidic bioreactor, and shown that functional platelets can be generated from human stem cell cultures at scale. The company was selected to participate in MassCONNECT (run by MassBio), was a 2014 MassChallenge Finalist, a 2016 BioSciKin business competition winner, and has received support from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.
Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology.
Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people's lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world's leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential.
About LabCentral (www.labcentral.org; twitter @labcentral)
A 28,000 square-foot facility in the heart of the Kendall Square, Cambridge, biotech innovation hub, LabCentral is a first-of-its-kind shared laboratory space designed as a launchpad for high-potential life-sciences and biotech startups. It offers fully permitted laboratory and office space for early-stage companies comprising approximately 125 scientists and entrepreneurs. LabCentral provides first-class facility and administrative support, skilled laboratory personnel, a domain-relevant expert speaker series ‒ as well as the other critical services and support that startups need to begin laboratory operations on day one. A private, nonprofit institution, LabCentral was funded in part by a $5 million grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, with support from its real-estate partner, MIT. Founding sponsors include Triumvirate Environmental and Johnson & Johnson Innovation.
Jennifer Bianco, (401) 392-8815
Caroline Grossman, (781) 771-5579
Jonathan N. Thon, Ph.D., (617) 877-6816