Year 2017 Venture Finalist 2017 Venture Finalist Science Start-ups (Falling Walls Venture)

Presented by
Allart Stoop

Nominated by
ideaSpace, University of Cambridge


Elpis Biomed provides differentiated human cells and tissue models for science, drug discovery, and toxicology, based on disruptive technology called reprogramming. The company aims to become a leading, global supplier of in vitro cell types for academic research and commercial drug discovery & development purposes.

Elpis Biomed’s innovation is the ability to ‘forward program’ human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) through insertion of specific genetic elements at defined positions within the human genome. Elpis Biomed’s proprietary technology allows rapid generation of highly mature, differentiated cell types at unmatched purity. The process is scalable with the potential to expand product offering with additional cell-types in the neuro-mesoderm focus area. Initial products will be cortical neurons, oligodendrocytes and skeletal muscle cells to be sold to academic research groups and pharma/biotech customers.

The application of human cells in the drug discovery process promises to revolutionise translation by providing human disease models with genetics matching the desired population, enabling target validation in relevant cell types, and drug screening in disease relevant conditions. In addition, the technology offers scope for innovation towards more complex and relevant organ cultures to generate ultimately ‘patients-in-a-test-tube’.

So far, screening of novel drugs has been restricted to cells from either animal origin or human cancer derived cell lines. Primary human cells are available for some cell types, in limited quantities and at high cost. Elpis Biomed’s cells could provide an alternative to the limited supply of primary cells and replace animal studies in other cases.

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