Taking Science to Market at Entrepreneurial Speed

Science entrepreneurs in their own right, Likarda’s founders, Lisa Stehno-Bittel, PhD, and Karthik Ramachandran, PhD, developed the 3D cell culture platform at the University of Kansas Medical Center where they focused on discovering and providing next-generation treatments for diabetes. The founders discovered the power of miniaturized islets, called Kanslets™, for secondary drug testing and have published multiple studies in support of the technology.

Likarda started as a contract research organization, conducting research for large international pharmaceutical companies down to small startups. We were the first to be able to screen for new drugs using 3D clusters of cells in a high throughput format.  Revenues from the contract research were reinvested back into Likarda’s R&D programs for our own cell therapy technologies.  Eventually our advanced cell therapy platforms demanded the company’s full attention and we pivoted from contract research efforts to creating new encapsulation approaches for cell therapies being developed by Likarda and by outside company partners.

Our Company

Likarda is a biotech contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) developing enabling technologies to transform the way cell therapies are delivered with the goal of providing patients with sustainable reversal for their chronic or fatal diseases. Our revolutionary method to coat cells with inert hydrogels, called Core Shell Spherification® (CSS), protects cells from destruction, keeping them viable while maintaining them in the target location within the body.

Unlike our competitors, Likarda has developed a library of over 50 different hydrogel formulations that work with Core Shell Spherification®, resulting in the ability to uniquely tailor the coating molecules to the specific requirements of the therapeutic cells themselves. From durable and long-term coatings to degradable coatings that deliver cells over days, weeks, or months, we can create exclusive hydrogel formulations tailored for each therapeutic application.

Likarda is the remarkable culmination of visionary leadership, science that is just as artistic as academic, and a compelling urge to do what’s right. As we move forward, we have well-defined, long-range goals with added opportunities for flexibility and growth.

Our Culture

Likarda was built with culture in the forefront.  Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging have always been a part of our values.  From hiring with a mindset focused on building a team with a wide variety of backgrounds, to enabling every team member to voice their thoughts regardless of experience, we find that we’ve managed to create a culture where we embrace new ideas and push the boundaries in our industry.  We believe this core also comes from our co-founders being a female and a minority male and we value everyone within the company as a part of that team.

Core Values

  • Inclusive. We are inclusive. We are diverse. We encourage everyone at the company–at all levels–to challenge the status quo and embrace change.
  • Collaborative. We love collaborating with our customers, caregivers, and patients, because every perspective is unique.
  • Humble. We believe in humility and being honest with ourselves and others.
  • Ambitious. We celebrate success but are never truly satisfied.
  • Resilient. We strive to think more like artists than engineers and ensure that we give every idea a try.
  • We are Likardans. People and pets come first. Our culture is everything.