Perhaps the most recognizable single name in Scottish biotech is Roslin.
BigDNA is located in the Roslin Biocentre in Roslin, a few kilometers outside of Edinburgh proper. Sheep Dolly, Polly, and Molly were cloned at the Roslin Institute, which moved to a new 500-researcher capacity building this year. The Roslin Foundation is a charity associated with the Roslin Institute and the University of Edinburgh.
Among other endeavors, the Roslin Foundation owns Roslin Cells, the mission of which is to supply undifferentiated stem cell lines for use in therapy, and to facilitate development of stem cell therapies.
It’s important that clinical-grade cells be procured, isolated, manipulated, and stored in ways that researchers and regulators are confident that they’re fit to be put into patients. Roslin Cells is very much about quality control; it assures that consent and procurement of the initial tissue is correct and well documented, and it writes everything down. “There are standard operating procedures for everything we do,” says CEO Aidan Courtney.
Once tissue is procured, Roslin Cells isolates the cells of interest and establishes a population of cells or a cell line that could be the starting material for a therapy.
Courtney makes no pretenses about doing the kind of ground-breaking work that gets reported in high-impact journals. Rather, Roslin Cells’ core competence is the ability to work with academics with an expertise in differentiating cells to a particular lineage—liver or endothelial cells, for example—to reduce theory down to a robust, solid, industrial process. “We’ve got a major GMP cell-processing facility that is embedded in European regulations.”
Later this year Roslin Cells will move its operations to the Scottish Center for Regenerative Medicine, where it will operate seven cleanrooms.