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Abcam and SomaServe Announce Comprehensive Partnership to Realise the Potential of PolyNaut® 'Bionic' Nanoparticles for Delivery to Live Cells

  • Commercialise novel cell delivery platform technology
  • Develop novel delivery methods for research applications
  • Revolutionise utility of live cell imaging to explore disease

CAMBRIDGE, UK, December 17, 2019 / B3C newswire / -- Abcam plc, a global innovator in life science reagents and tools, and SomaServe Ltd, a Pharma service and specialist reagent business exploiting PolyNaut® Technology, have announced a partnership to commercialise the cell delivery potential of the polymer-based ‘bionic’ nanoparticles, which can carry a range of payloads directly to live cells.

Dr Fran Crawford, CEO, SomaServe, commented: “Abcam’s reputation as an innovator in the field of biological reagents and dedicated global commercialisation infrastructure, coupled with their transparent and collegiate partnership approach, made them the standout choice as our development and commercialisation partner for the PolyNaut® Technology platform. We are excited to be working together to maximise the potential of our innovative delivery platform for research and diagnostic applications.”

Dr Cheri Walker, SVP Corporate Development, Abcam, added: “Investing in innovative ideas and platform technologies, and supporting these through to global commercialization, is a key element of our growth strategy. Our industry expertise and co-location in major technology hubs throughout the world, enables our partners to rapidly get their innovations into the hands of the global research community. Our objective is to partner, fund and commercialize early stage technologies which have the promise to improve and accelerate research. And ultimately to contribute to advancing the understanding of biology and cause of disease, which enables new treatments and improved health outcomes.”

The collaboration will initially focus on the development and global commercialisation of a suite of CelLuminate dyes, specifically created to revolutionise live cell imaging by enabling cells to remain functional and viable for up to 14 days. This crucial reduction in toxicity gives users the ability to thoroughly probe and analyse their cells, enabling them to achieve deeper insights and advance their understanding. 

Beyond improving and enhancing live cell imaging, the team will work together to expand the delivery and assay options of the platform, including optimising its potential in combination with antibodies and other technologies. In addition to the commercial partnership, Abcam has invested in SomaServe’s seed round to help accelerate the development of an innovative market leading platform for research, diagnostic and therapeutic applications. 


About Abcam
As a global life sciences company, Abcam identifies, develops, and distributes high-quality biological reagents and tools that are crucial to research, drug discovery and diagnostics. Working across the industry, the Company supports life scientists to achieve their mission, faster.

Abcam partners with life science organisations to co-create novel binders for use in drug discovery, in vitro diagnostics and therapeutics, driven by the Company’s proprietary discovery platforms and world-leading, antibody expertise.

By constantly innovating its binders and assays, Abcam is helping advance the global understanding of biology and causes of disease, which enables new treatments and improved health. The Company’s pioneering data-sharing approach gives scientists increased confidence in their results by providing validation, user comments and peer-reviewed citations for its 110,000 products.

With ten sites globally, many of Abcam’s 1,100 strong team are located in the world's leading life science research hubs, complementing a global network of services and support. 

To discover more, please visit and

About SomaServe
Founded in 2018, SomaServe was spun out of UCL with the mission to build a uniquely positioned pharma service and specialist reagent business exploiting PolyNaut® Technology to image live cells and improve the therapeutic viability of molecules with poor pharmacokinetic and chemical properties.

PolyNaut® Technology is a versatile nano-engineered polymer technology for in vivo intracellular delivery. The resulting polymer nanoparticle vesicle is known as ‘the bionic nanoparticle’.  The widely diverse polymer structure is highly flexible and can accept small molecules, peptides and proteins, antibodies, nuclear material, dyes and probes. The resulting nanoparticles then deliver their cargo to the interior of the cell, greatly enhancing the therapeutic efficacy of the encapsulated molecules.  In addition, it is possible to functionalise the vesicle surface with targeting ligands to aid penetration of biological barriers such as the blood brain barrier.

This cell delivery technology can also be successfully employed to enhance live cell imaging. The resulting CelLuminate suite of dyes have been developed to image live cells in vitro. CelLuminate has the benefit of significantly reduced cytotoxicity compared to industry standard cell imaging reagents. Cells under test can remain functional and viable for periods of up to fourteen days, giving researchers in industry and academia more time for image analysis.

The patented PolyNaut® technology underpins SomaServe’s portfolio of specialist reagents and is at the heart of the Precision Services offering. Precision Services provide bespoke drug discovery and product development services to pharma and non-pharma companies for proprietary molecules through the conduct of iterative feasibility studies and technology licence. The focus of the Precision Services division is to improve the therapeutic viability of potential therapeutic molecules with poor pharmacokinetic and chemical properties.



At Abcam
Dr Lynne Trowbridge
+44 7815 167026

At SomaServe
Dr Fran Crawford, CEO
+44 7714 672027


Keywords: Polymers; Ligands; Indicators and Reagents; Drug Discovery; Bionics; Coloring Agents; Pharmaceutical Preparations; Nanoparticles; Technology


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Last Updated: 06-Jan-2020