The Stem Cell Network Awards $500,000 for Collaboration with Aspect Biosystems, The University of British Columbia, and McGill University

Mar 02, 2020

This collaboration with Aspect Biosystems, University of British Columbia, and McGill University is focused on developing a bioprinted tissue therapeutic for type 1 diabetes.

March 2, 2020 – Vancouver, British Columbia – Aspect Biosystems, a Canadian biotech company pioneering microfluidic 3D bioprinting of human tissues, is part of a collaboration with the University of British Columbia and McGill University that has received a $500,000 grant from the Stem Cell Network (SCN). This collaboration is focused on creating a 3D bioprinted, insulin-producing pancreatic tissue therapeutic as a next-generation regenerative medicine therapy for type 1 diabetes (T1D). 

 Principal investigators at the University of British Columbia and McGill University bring together world-leading expertise in stem cell differentiation, encapsulation technology, device design and implantation, and host immune response.  Aspect Biosystems will leverage their 3D bioprinting platform to encapsulate functional beta cells in unique tissue architectures that provide immune-protection. The ultimate goal is to transform the standard of care for type-1-diabetics by providing an implantable tissue therapy that takes over the function of the diseased pancreas, without the need for patients to take immunosuppressive drugs. This therapy could minimize the risk of hyper or hypoglycaemia without the need for constant blood glucose monitoring, or daily injections of insulin. 

“The market and interest for cell therapeutic strategies addressing T1D is massive, and presents a very real opportunity to make a profound impact on the lives of patients,” said Tamer Mohamed, CEO of Aspect Biosystems. “We are grateful to the SCN for supporting our collaboration with experts at leading Canadian research institutions on both sides of the country as we accelerate the process of getting our regenerative medicine program for type 1 diabetes into the clinic.” 

“I am very grateful to the SCN and delighted to work with Aspect Biosystems to develop an immune-protected cell therapy for diabetes,” said Dr. Timothy Kieffer, Professor and Diabetes Research Group Leader at the University of British Columbia. “I believe that Aspect’s unique bioprinting technology has tremendous potential to enable the next generation of functional tissue implants without the need for long-term immune suppression and thus could dramatically improve the quality of life for patients living with diabetes.” 

This collaboration funding is provided through SCN’s Fueling Biotechnology Partnerships program, which is focused on academic partnerships with emerging Canadian regenerative medicine biotech companies who are working to drive an innovative stem cell-based technology or therapy into the clinic or market. This program is providing $1.5 million for three academic partnerships and is part of SCN’s overall funding of $6.9 million for 13 projects and clinical trials.

“This is the first of two rounds of funding the Stem Cell Network will deliver over the next two years and I’m extremely happy with the quality of the projects and number of collaborators involved,” said Dr. Michael Rudnicki, O.C., Scientific Director & CEO of SCN. “One of the things that makes Canada’s stem cell community so strong is the level of collaboration we see, and it is through these efforts that we are moving closer to our goal of translating stem cell-based therapies from bench to bedside for the benefit of Canadians.”

Press release from the Stem Cell Network can be found here.

About the Stem Cell Network

Tomorrow’s health is here. The Stem Cell Network (SCN) is a national non-profit that supports stem cell and regenerative medicine research, training the next generation of highly qualified personnel, and delivering outreach activities across Canada. SCN’s goal is to advance science from the lab to the clinic for the benefit of Canadians. SCN has been supported by the Government of Canada since inception in 2001. This strategic funding, valued at $118M has benefitted approximately 170 world-class research groups and 3,000 trainees and has catalyzed 19 clinical trials.  

About Aspect Biosystems

Aspect Biosystems is a privately held biotechnology platform company pioneering the microfluidic 3D bioprinting of human tissues.   The Company’s proprietary technology has the potential to shape every aspect of human health by enabling the creation of human tissues for medical research, therapeutic discovery, and regenerative medicine. Aspect is focused on partnering with academic institutions and biopharma companies to facilitate high-value discovery and development.   The Company is also advancing internal tissue therapeutic programs for regenerative medicine, with an initial focus on metabolic diseases and musculoskeletal injuries and disorders.   Learn more at


Natalie Korenic
Aspect Biosystems

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