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An end to animal testing in sight.

Byline: Andrew Mernin

EARLIER this month almost 1,000 scientists and academics gathered in Rome and vowed to bring an end to testing on animals within 20 years.

The World Congress on the Use of Animals and Alternatives in Life Sciences saw representatives of governments, animal welfare groups and science come together to plot the end of days for the cruellest of laboratory processes.

And as researchers look for alternatives ways to test products and substances, they could find themselves turning to a North East company.

Durham University spin-out Reinnervate is gearing up for its market launch next year and is on the hunt for up to pounds 3m of new investment.

In recent years, the firm has developed a product which allows scientists to grow and examine cells in 3D rather than the traditional 2D method used with a petri dish.

While the 2D nature of petri dishes may lead to abnormal test results, Reinnervate's cell culture technology can recreate the realism of live animal tissues by culturing cells in 3D such as skin cells.

The company is currently in talks with specialist manufacturing and distribution firms with the aim of selling its products across Europe, the US and Asia. It expects to bring the product to market next yea.

The company is gearing up for a new round of funding for up to pounds 3m in the first quarter of next year, which would follow the pounds 750,000 it received last year, largely from NorthStar Equity Investors.

The technology involves a highly porous polystyrene scaffold developed at Durham University by Professor Stefan Przyborski and Professor Neil Cameron for routine cell culture applications.

Prof Przyborski said: "We are currently in the process of engaging with global partners to help us manufacture and distribute the technology worldwide.

"We are planning an injection of capital from new investors and will also be raising further capital to enable us to relocate to an independent commercial premises."

Reinnervate indirectly employs around 12 staff. It currently operates from laboratories at Durham University.

CAPTION(S):

INNOVATION Dr Stefan Przyborski, of Durham University.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 17, 2009
Words:348
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