News Feature | May 23, 2014

Roslin Cells Signs Cell Therapy Manufacturing Contract With Pfizer

By Marcus Johnson


Roslin Cells has announced that it has entered into a manufacturing agreement with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. Roslin Cells will manufacture retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells that will be used in a cell therapy clinical trials. The manufacturing process will happen at the GMP Cellular Therapy Manufacturing Facility in Edinburgh, which was licensed by the Medicines Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Aidan Courtney, Roslin Cells’ CEO, says, “This contract builds on our success to secure other leading cell therapy programs and demonstrates our position in regenerative medicine in Europe.  It represents the culmination of a four year program to design, build, and commission a premier facility for cell therapy development here in Edinburgh.”

The RPE is a pigmented cell layer that is found right outside of the retina. Pfizer’s clinical trial will evaluate the company’s own therapy for age related macular denegation, or AMD. AMD is a primary cause of loss of vision, particularly in citizens 65 years or older. Janet Downie, the COO of Roslin Cells says that this agreement will enable the company to better improve its offerings. “We are delighted to be supporting Pfizer in this exciting clinical trial which allows us to further develop our cell therapy contract manufacturing business in Edinburgh,” she said.

Roslin Cells has been putting the GMP manufacturing facility to use—in mid-April the company announced that they would be manufacturing red blood cells originating from pluripotent stem cells at the facility. The blood manufactured at the facility will be used in human transfusions, and the company believes that the first human volunteer will receive the blood within the next three years. The project is funded by a £5 million Strategic Award from the Wellcome Trust, and the project is being run by a consortium led by the Scottish National Blood Service, or SNBTS.