Advanced Cell Technology and Roslin Cells collaborate to produce embryonic stem cells

7 Jan 2011

Advanced Cell Technology Inc and Scottish company Roslin Cells Ltd have agreed to collaborate to establish a bank of GMP-grade human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines using ACT’s proprietary 'single-ceblastomere' technique for deriving embryonic stem cells without damage to the embryo.

The collaboration contemplates that the hESC lines will be created and stored using protocols that meet the regulatory standards of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and US FDA.

Roslin Cells, which is an offshoot of the Roslin Institute, will be responsible for maintaining the banked hESC lines, which will be made available for both research and commercial purposes. By utilizing GMP and careful characterization and documentation of the resulting hESC lines, it is intended that the banked hESC lines will be suitable to move readily from laboratory settings into clinic programs, thereby speeding translation research into human treatments. Predictability in price and commercialization terms is a key feature of the goals of the collaboration.

Roslin Cells will promote access to the hESC lines from the bank as research reagents to both academic and commercial entities. In addition, ACT and Roslin Cells will publish a commercialization license so that third parties will have a reasonable and predictable path to commercialization of products using the same hESC lines that they may use in animal model studies for preclinical data.

Commercialization licenses will also provide access to the cell lines biologics master file in order to establish regulatory compliance. Proceeds from commercialization licenses, including milestone and royalty payments, will be shared between ACT and Roslin Cells.

“The relationship with Roslin Cells has grown out of our initiatives in Europe over the past year, and comes as part of our close efforts with the Scottish Development agency. Along with the recent announcement of our European Orphan drug designation filing in our Stargardt’s disease treatment program, the relationship with Roslin Cells signals the expansion of our commercial initiatives in Europe, and, more broadly, markets around the world,” said ACT’s Interim Chairman and CEO, Gary Rabin.

“Roslin Cells is already one of the leading organizations in GMP manufacturing of stem cells. Through the creation of hESC lines derived using our proprietary ‘embryo-safe’ technique, we fully expect Roslin Cells to quickly become a leading hESC bank for Europe, North America and Asia. We foresee major demand for these embryonic stem cells from both researchers and commercial interests across the globe.”

“Until we developed our single blastomere technology, embryonic stem cell research had been synonymous with the destruction of human embryos,” stated Robert Lanza, MD, Chief Scientific Officer at ACT.

 “In stark contrast to embryonic stem cells lines currently available for research, such as those on the NIH registry, our single blastomere technique does not destroy the embryo. One of the benefits to an ability to create new hESC lines without destroying embryos is that it addresses ethical concerns of certain researchers.”

The Company’s single blastomere technique relies on isolating a single cell from a 4 to 8 cell embryo utilizing a one-cell biopsy approach similar to that used in pre-implantation genetic diagnostics (PGD). According to recent literature, one-cell biopsy as part of PGD is carried out routinely around the world, and one to two thousand children are born every year in the United States and Europe after being conceived by in vitro fertilization using one-cell biopsy and PGD.

“The availability of our ‘embryo safe’ hESC lines has sparked interest in many quarters, including at institutions that have been opposed to conducting embryonic stem cell research in the past,” continued Dr. Lanza. “We are exploring opportunities to provide our cells to those institutions.


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