This first of its kind initiative seeks to eliminate variability and establish a consistent bioprocess.

ITI Life Sciences and Cellartis will use The Automation Partnership’s (TAP) CompacT SelecT™ automated cell culture system to develop a consistent bioprocess for manufacturing high-quality undifferentiated human embryonic stem (hES) cells.

“We want to manufacture hES cells on a commercial scale because there is a huge, untapped market for robust hES cells for use in drug screening,” comments Fergus McKenzie, Ph.D., at ITI Life Sciences. “To scale up hES cells we need to eliminate variability as much as possible and set up a consistent bioprocess. Since undifferentiated hES cells are notoriously difficult to culture and maintain in this state, we felt automation was essential for providing the consistent conditions required to achieve our goal.”

CompacT SelecT will be used as part of ITI Life Sciences’ GBP 9.5-million stem cell research program, managed by Dr. McKenzie. The initiative aims to automate Cellartis’ pleuripotent hES cell scale up and differentiation protocols and is the first to undertake this research, according to TAP. It will be run at the newly opened Cellartis facility in Dundee, Scotland.

“We reviewed systems from a number of other automation companies and chose the TAP system because the CompacT SelecT and its larger brother, the SelecT, we believed, were the ones on the market that met our needs at present and also provided for future expansion,” Dr. McKenzie explains.

The Compact SelecT is suited for culturing high quality hES cells because it maintains a consistent environment, which is critical when trying to maintain undifferentiated hES cells, TAP adds. Additionally, since CompacT SelecT can be used to culture different cell lines in tandem, scientists will save time by growing the feeder cell layer upon which they seed their hES cells at the same time as different batches of hES cells.

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