UK-based High Force Research (HFR) has received a patent for new stem cell compounds, which were jointly developed with Durham University (DU).

The company has been providing a range of services for new product development in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and fine chemicals industries.

DU’s department of chemistry and scientists from HFR have been jointly working in the field of fluorescent retinoids, a class of chemical compounds important in medicine as signalling molecules that are involved in controlling many aspects of stem cell proliferation and differentiation.

As part of the development, a family of new small molecules have been created with potential applications in cell biology, imaging, diagnostics and pharmaceuticals, which are intended for further development and commercialisation by HFR.

HFR sponsors research at DU’s department of chemistry from professor Andy Whiting and his group.

"The group has now developed a new range of fluorescent compounds with biological activity and applications for imaging in cell development and tissue culture."

Currently, the group is seeking partners in industry and academia to collaborate in manufacturing the compounds on a large-scale.

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Building on previous work to develop stable analogues, the group has now developed a new range of fluorescent compounds with biological activity and applications for imaging in cell development and tissue culture.

HFR director Bob Redfern said: "We are delighted that our patent on these stem cell chemistries has been granted, it is a fantastic achievement for the whole team.

"Collaborating with Durham University’s chemistry department to obtain this result has been a great experience from start to finish, and we hope to continue to work together on further patent applications."

According to HFR, other applications for the use of these new compounds in cell biology range from visualisation and localisation, to monitoring real-time concentration and local environments.

Benefits of these new compounds include intrinsic fluorescence of the molecules, retention of biololgical activity of natural retinoids, the range of analogues with different bioactivities, the variance of fluorescence with polarity and light stability.

The HFR team operates out of a 1,100m² purpose built facility, which includes two ISO Class 8 laboratories where multi-stage synthesis to cGMP standards is carried out, with quality assurance and administrative offices also on-site.