Updated on 9 May 2012
Dr Jeong Chan Ra, CEO - RNL Bio
Cloning of dog in the past has been done using somatic cells. Researchers at RNL Bio used adipose stem cell-derived from fat tissue to clone a dog. They achieved a breakthrough in cloning two puppies in January 2009 by using the dog cloning technologies from the Seoul National University. This is the world's first dog cloning using adipose tissue-derived stem cells from a Beagle donor. A month later, the company announced that it has successfully cloned a toy breed, Pekingese, for the first time in the world.
RNL Bio, which accomplished the world's first commercial dog cloning in 2008, was chosen for the BioSpectrum Asia Pacific Bioscience Industry Emerging Company of the Year Award for 2010.
Dr Jeong Chan Ra, who worked at veterinary college in Seoul National University and LG Life Sciences (formerly LG Chemistry) and with Bayer Korea as team leader, established RNL Bio with an initial investment of $170,000 in November 2000 along with professors of veterinary college in Seoul National University to overcome cell damaged diseases and future catastrophic viral diseases.
RNL Bio has established the largest GMP center for producing stem cells in Korea in 2006. After three years, the company has extended its GMP facility to meet the growing needs for stem cells. It has opened stem cell therapy centers at Tiantan Puhua Hospital, Yanda International Hospital and stem cell healing center for long- term patients at Yanji in China. RNL Bio has also opened cell therapy center for cancer, diabetes and auto-immune diseases in Kyoto, Japan. The company has licensed the stem cell technology to Japan in 2008.
The company is focusing on developing stem cell products such as Lipostem-Femoran for curing hip joint fracture; Lipostem-DM for curing diabetes mellitus; Astrostem for curing spinal cord injury; Vascostem for curing ischemic cardiac and cerebral infarction; and Cancerstem for curing cancer. RNL Bio has entered into agreements with many global research organizations such as Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Newcastle University for lever regeneration and the German Heart Center.
RNL Bio has tied up with local medical centers and university hospitals, such as SAM and ASAN Medical Center, Seoul and Busan National University Hospital and Seoul ST Mary's hospital for conducting trials. It has received approval to commence phase I trial using adipose stem cells for spinal cord injury in 2009. RNL Bio has already commenced the phase I/II trial for Buerger's disease and degenerative arthritis, after getting the approval in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Meanwhile, it has completed trials related to Romberg's disease using fat-derived stem cells and also for critical limb disease.
RNL Bio has filed 26 patents of which 22 are with Korean authorities and rest with international agencies. It received five patents that are related to skin and cosmetic applications, for a method of isolating and culturing placenta-derived epithelial stem cells, for proliferating hematopoietic stem cells and has successfully commercialized the stem cell applications in cosmetics space. For optimum skin health, RNL Bio has launched a one-of-a-kind stem cell cosmetics line called Dr Jucre, incorporating the most advanced in stem cell technology and the best in modern skincare. The company was awarded the highest technology award in South Korea in 2009 for its advancement in stem cell research.
In November 2009, RNL Bio has successfully provided stem cell therapy treatment to an American student who was suffering from autoimmune hearing loss.