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Roslin Cells to manufacture blood cultured from stem cells

Edinburgh, 15 April 2014

Roslin Cells Ltd announced today that they will manufacture red blood cells originating from stem cells in their state-of-the art GMP manufacturing facility based at Edinburgh BioQuarter.  Manufactured blood will be received by the first human volunteer within the next three years, demonstrating the potential of stem cell technology to produce high quality, plentiful blood supply for use in transfusions.

Blood transfusions are critical to current clinical practice, with over 90 million red blood cell transfusions taking place each year world-wide.  Blood donation supplies are insufficient in many countries globally.  There is also the risk of transmitting infections, immunological incompatibility and overloading of iron levels, and the use of cultured red blood cells could potentially overcome these risks and provide fresh, younger cells which may have a clinical advantage by surviving longer and performing better in blood transfusions.

The project is part of a long-term research programme run by a consortium led by the Scottish National Blood Service (SNBTS) and is funded by a £5 million Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust.  The work follows previous research which proved that red blood cells could be generated from stem cells.

Roslin Cells Ltd is part of the consortium which includes the Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Loughborough, NHS Blood and Transplant, the Irish Blood Transfusion Service, the Cell Therapy Catapult in collaboration with the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge. 

Aidan Courtney, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Roslin Cells Ltd, said: “We are delighted that the Wellcome Trust has continued to support this ambitious programme which brings together many of the UK’s leading research centres for regenerative medicine.”

The project will involve the use of pluripotent stem cells which can be differentiated into any other cell type in the body.  Cells will be adapted to multiply in the lab, eventually resulting in production of fresh red blood cells for use in humans.  Prior to initiating clinical trials, cultured cells will require high grade manufacturing to GMP standards and necessary approval from the UK Regulatory Authorities.  The aim is for the process to be scalable for manufacture on a commercial scale, with the first in-man trial taking place by late 2016.

Janet Downie, Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Roslin Cells Ltd, said, “We are looking forward to manufacturing this exciting product for the first human clinical trial in our GMP facility”.

Press Contacts

For more information, please contact:

Roslin Cells

Aidan Courtney, Chief Executive Officer, Tel.  +44 (0)131 658 5180

Email: a.courtney@roslincells.com

Web : www.roslincells.com

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