What Exactly Does PurCell Bio do?
PurCell Bio is optimizing “food” for cells in cell culture research by eliminating all animal-sourced components and maximizing performance for each cell type. These optimized products create a foundation upon which cell-based therapies can qualify for clinical trials and impact the world.
For a more in-depth overview, please refer to the article below.
Cell culture research is the study of and experimentation on cells outside of an organism. A more technical definition of cell culture reads like this, “Cell culture refers to the removal of cells from an animal or plant and their subsequent growth in a favorable artificial environment”.1 The cells can be any type of cell: bacterial cells, human cells, plant cells, etc. At PurCell, we study human cells in cell culture. More specifically, we are studying how to optimize the “artificial growth environment” of human cells by eliminating all animal-sourced components and maximizing performance for each cell type.
The study of cell culture research had humble beginnings. Starting back in the early 1900’s, cell culture research consisted of a few researchers pursuing a better understanding of how to maintain cells outside an organism.2 Since then, the field has exploded in popularity and size. As of 2021, the cell culture market was valued at USD 21 billion dollars, with a forecast compound annual growth rate of 11.86% for the next 7 years.3 Some of the more common applications of cell culture today are “…creating model systems that study basic biology, replicate disease mechanisms, [and] investigate the toxicity of novel drug compounds.4 Cell culture research is a high impact field that has created many sub-industries in its wake.
One of these sub-industries is the cell culture media market. Cell media is (often) a liquid that contains some of the nutrients necessary to maintain cells outside an organism. These nutrients can include amino acids, vitamins, and salts.5 However, other components like lipids, proteins, and hormones are necessary to achieve thriving cells and these additional nutrients are often supplemented to the media. It is significant to point out that one of most common sources of the supplemental nutrients is serum.
Serum is the component of blood that contains nutrients, electrolytes, and proteins, but does not contain blood cells or clotting factors.6 The most common source of serum for use in cell culture are cows.7 It is known as FBS (Fetal Bovine Serum) and it is harvested from the fetal calves found in pregnant cattle on their way to slaughter.8 Sadly, the young calves are usually not treated humanely in this process and the process itself is fatal.8 The collected serum is then heat-treated, bottled, and sold to cell culture researchers around the world. This is a major industry today, having an annual revenue of USD 960,000,000 in 2022.9 Surprisingly, this supplement has served as the “gold standard” for cultivating cells in vitro (outside of an organism) for many years now, even in spite of its inherent nutrient variability and contamination concerns. No other supplement for cell culture has been found that can measure up to the performance of FBS in growing and sustaining cells, even in light of its major weaknesses.
What We Do
Here at PurCell, we are trying to optimize the “supplement” of cell culture media. For some of our human cell lines (i.e., skin cells), this means bypassing serum and replacing it completely because of its inherent variability and contamination. The contamination inherent in FBS’s biological origin is preventing some cellular-based therapies from entering clinical trials. It is the contamination issue that PurCell Bio has solved! We have created a non-animal derived supplement that is free of the 9 potential contaminants known to be present in animal serum and surpasses serum’s growth performance in culture. Additionally, we are the only company that has a product like this on the market. Our vision is that our product will become the new “gold standard” in the industry, creating a foundation for new cell-based products and therapies that could help people around the world.
- ThermoFischer – Introduction to Cell Culture. Link.
- Wikipedia – Cell Culture. Link.
- Grand View Research – Cell Culture Industry Data Book. Link.
- PubMed Central – Cell Culture. Link.
- ThermoFischer Scientific – 11965 – DMEM, high glucose. Link.
- biology dictionary – Difference Between Blood and Plasma. Link.
- Sigma-Aldrich -Media and Supplements in Cell Culture. Link.
- Alternatives to Laboratory Animals – The Use of Fetal Bovine Serum: Ethical or Scientific Problem? Link.
- ResearchAndMarkets.com – Global Fetal Bovine Serum Cells. Link.