Q&A with Brian Saputro, R&D Scientist at Regeneus

Q. How did you develop your interest in the regenerative medicine and stem cell space?

A. Born and raised in Indonesia, where the curriculum was quite focused on science, I have always been intrigued in life sciences and everything related.

I came to Australia for university in 2008 and completed a Bachelor of Biotechnology at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). While there was a myriad of biotech fields covered during my study, my interest piqued at stem cells. Regeneus’ CEO at the time, John Martin, also delivered a lecture to my cohort focused on Biotech in Business, which is what initially drew me to Regeneus and its work in the regenerative medicine field.

I then completed my honours thesis at UNSW with Regeneus, focusing on blood-based assays to increase the detection sensitivity of the stem cell secretome.

Following my thesis, I started with Regeneus in the Human Health team for two years, before transferring to the R&D team where I now support the development of our Progenza™ product in the lead up to Phase II trials.

Q. As Regeneus progresses toward Phase II trials, what role do you play in optimizing Regeneus’ lead technology platform Progenza™?

A. Optimising Regeneus’ technology to solve problems for human health is incredibly fulfilling. It has always felt like scratching a brain itch for me.

A total of 28 combinations of various types of , such as basal media and growth supplements, were thrown into the mix with our donor MSCs, with the aim of finding the ideal combination that would optimise growth, while maintaining optimal viability and functionality.

Since then, I’ve been mainly focused on further optimising the culturing process for Progenza™ Phase II trials, as well as performing and optimising the battery of MSC potency assays that Regeneus performs to ensure the Progenza™ product is of the highest quality. This includes cell surface markers analysis, multiplex platform cytokine analysis, T Cell Assays and Priming Assays. Since the completion of our Phase I Clinical Trial manufacture, we’ve successfully obtained new cell lines from different donors, and these potency assays became crucial for assessing each cell line.

We utilise potency assays to assess the qualities of each batch of cells and conduct further assessments to ensure the cells are optimised to deliver the best effect for patients. This work is crucial to predicting the scalability of our donor cells which informs our process for manufacturing for preclinical and clinical trials.

Q. You also support the development of Regeneus’ second platform technology Sygenus. What does this involve?

A. For our second platform technology, Sygenus, I have been involved in developing a 3D bioreactor system, which has been quite intriguing to optimise.

MSCs require surface attachment to metabolise and grow. In planar culture, MSCs can only grow within the limits of the flask surface area before the cells produced become too dense. Our goal with 3D culture development is to provide a larger growth surface area, that can be scaled easily without a significant increase in labour and cost of goods. Bioreactors also allow for increased in-process testing and control of the culture environment to ensure we produce a consistent MSC secretome for every Sygenus batch and to maintain the strong anti-inflammatory activity of the secretome. We are now excited to explore this manufacturing technology further with our Department of Defence grant work to investigate Sygenus for potential treatment of battlefield combat wounds.

Q. What do you believe is next for regenerative medicine and what role can Regeneus play in advancing the sector?

A. Within the regenerative medicine sector, the understanding of the mechanism of action of MSCs has changed over the past decade. Initially, it was understood that the therapeutic effect of MSCs came from the cells themselves. Then, it was realised that it is the bioactive secretome, that the cells produce, that have the true effect. Now, more work is being done to understand the role of the bioactive secretome and the components within them.

Regeneus was one of the first in the industry to identify the role of the secretome in modulating the immune system, contributing to addressing patient symptoms, but also to the disease modifying effects. Regeneus has built a strong patent portfolio around the combination of the MSCs and the bioactive MSC secretome to ensure we can utilise this science to address key conditions, such as pain and inflammation, where other companies cannot.

Disease modifying treatments are not currently available in the market for knee osteoarthritis and many patients suffering from significant pain are particularly dissatisfied with the current treatments available. For example, of the around 1.5 billion people globally who suffer from pain[1], 50 per cent of patients report inadequate relief from existing therapies[2]. This makes the work we do at Regeneus particularly exciting, as we may be the first to fill the gap in these markets and address the unmet needs for these patients.

Q. What are you most excited about for Regeneus’ technology and as a company?

A. At Regeneus, our goal has always been to find solutions that address unmet medical needs for patients of highly prevalent conditions, such as osteoarthritis and pain. Our current pipeline for Progenza™ and Sygenus means we have the potential to make a real difference.


[1] Chronic Pain and Health of Populations. Boston University, 2017

[2] Chronic Pain and Health of Populations. Boston University, 2017