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Duo join ethics and sustainability board as bit.bio adds two new cell products to ‘menu’





Two new members have been welcomed to bit.bio’s independent ethics and sustainability board to further support the company’s commitment to being a purpose-led, ethical organisation.

Dr Erica Alteri has joined the Ethics and Sustainability Board at bit.bio
Dr Erica Alteri has joined the Ethics and Sustainability Board at bit.bio

bit.bio is working towards a future in which precision engineered human cells enable biomedical innovation (UN SDG9) and a new generation of cures (UN SDG3).

New board member Dr Enrica Alteri spent seven years in drug discovery and five years in clinical safety before joining the European Medicines Agency in 2012, becoming a member of the executive board until 2020.

Commenting on her appointment, Dr Alteri said: “Working with the European regulatory agency allowe me to see ideas turning into products and helping patients. This is a remarkable journey and needs to be done not only with passion and with purpose, but also respecting and understanding societal needs and ethical boundaries that guide research focused on humans. I am excited to bring this mindset to bit.bio.”

Prof Jeffrey Skopek has joined the Ethics and Sustainability Board at bit.bio
Prof Jeffrey Skopek has joined the Ethics and Sustainability Board at bit.bio

New board member Jeff Skopek is an associate professor of law at the University of Cambridge and deputy director of its Centre for Law, Medicine and Life Sciences.

Prof Skopek said: “What I find really exciting and important about this board’s work is that law and ethics are built on assumptions about the nature of the world. But the nature of the world is being transformed through advances in medicine and the life sciences. . We are confronted with new types of entities and questions about whether and how we should fit them into our existing legal and ethical frameworks. That's why I think this is just such a fascinating and challenging area to be working in and why I’ve joined this board.”

Dr Farah Patell-Socha, VP research products, bit.bio
Dr Farah Patell-Socha, VP research products, bit.bio

Mark Kotter, founder and CEO of bit.bio, said: “bit.bio is a purpose led company that is committed to making a sustainable impact on patients’ lives and to adhering to the highest ethical standards. As creators of new technology, we are also committed to understanding its potential impact and risks, to creating robust mitigation strategies, and defining clear boundaries within which we will operate. In this spirit, I welcome Enrica and Jeff to our board, which will ensure that our ambitions and daily operating procedures adhere to the highest levels of scrutiny.”

Meanwhile the cell coding company, which is based on Babraham Research Campus, has added two new human cell products to accelerate research and drug discovery for neurodegenerative disease.

bit.bio Ethics and Sustainability Board member Dr Erica Alteri; Prof Marie-Claire Cordonnier, chair; and Prof Jeffrey Skopek, member
bit.bio Ethics and Sustainability Board member Dr Erica Alteri; Prof Marie-Claire Cordonnier, chair; and Prof Jeffrey Skopek, member

Its product portfolio now includes the ioGlutamatergic Neurons TDP-43M337V disease model and early access to its ioMicroglia cell product.

These latest cell products provide a scalable source of human cells and will enable scientists to study neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Frontotemporal dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosi in a human context.

Dr Farah Patell-Socha, VP research products at bit.bio, said: “Human cells are key to disease research, drug discovery, and clinical translation. However, traditional methods of producing human cells have long, laborious, protocols that often result in heterogenous cell populations and can lead to data variability. Our latest products provide robust, standardised tools for neurodegenerative research and drug discovery, paving the way for high-throughput screening and drug target validation in human iPSC-derived models that was previously impossible, and bringing huge benefits to medicine as a result.”



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