Biocell Center Corp., the European biotech firm that pioneered a method of preserving amniotic stem cells, opened its U.S. headquarters in Medford, Mass.
Biocell CEO Kate Torchilin said the company can preserve a portion of the sample taken during amniocentesis on pregnant women, which contains stem cells that can be used to treat illness or regenerate tissue.
A few milliliters of amniotic fluid, which are usually discarded, are sent to be cryogenically stored at Biocell’s facility. Pregnant women can elect to preserve the specimens if they’re willing to pay for their preservation and can also elect to allow them to be used for research.
A spokesman for the Mass. Life Sciences Center told MassDevice in an email that Biocell neither asked for or received any tax breaks or other incentives in choosing its new address in Medford. But company officials cited Gov. Deval Patrick’s 10-year, $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative and the Bostn area’s strong research community as key reasons for the decision — and the great Italian food in the city’s North End didn’t hurt either, according to the spokesman. Biocell has facilities in Italy and Switzerland.