RoslinCT – Case Study
RoslinCT is a leading GMP contract manufacturing and development organisation helping companies advance life-changing cell and gene therapies by providing specialist services.
Janet Downie, Chief Executive of RoslinCT, talks to us about her career path and the start of an exciting era for the company, with expansion and development of a new state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility on Edinburgh BioQuarter.
What has been your career path?
I studied Biological Science at Edinburgh Napier. I wanted to study an industry-focused degree and in Edinburgh as it is such a beautiful city.
On leaving university, I started my career at Inveresk Research, where I went on to become a Study Director in Genetic Toxicology. Having developed an interest in Quality and GMP, I moved on to a QA role at PPL Therapeutics where we were applying GMP quality systems across the full supply chain from transgenic sheep through to a sterile injectable product. This was a fantastic experience but unfortunately, the company closed in 2003. I returned to Inveresk (then Charles River Laboratories) where I led the GMP QA team before joining Roslin Cells in 2007, during the early stages of the business.
Working with Roslin Cells (now RoslinCT) has been a tremendous journey with many ups and downs, inspired by the goal to create a successful business within the cell and gene therapy field.
My initial industry training at Inveresk really established my career and through experience with commercial business, combined with quality, has given me a holistic view of effectively running a business delivering patient therapies.
Tell us about some of your career highlights…
I didn’t start out with a career plan or goals and have mainly relied on a strong work ethic, sheer determination and a desire to succeed in whatever I set my mind to.
There have been many highlights and challenges over the years. I believe my greatest success has been in establishing RoslinCT into a profitable, self-sustaining, growing business.
From leading the team that produced one of the first clinical grade pluripotent stem cells to treating the first patient with a therapy where our team had provided the process development, tech transfer and manufacture for the client that resulted in a transformation to a patient’s life – and now many more.
Over the years, what often has meant the most have been the smaller triumphs, offering someone a job and knowing it will positively change their life or seeing members of the team progress and develop.
The story behind RoslinCT…
Originally founded in 2006 as Roslin Cells, a spin-out from the Roslin Institute. In 2015, we hived off RoslinCT to focus on our CDMO and clinical pluripotent stem business.
We moved to Edinburgh BioQuarter, to the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine (SCRM) in 2013, where we have our cell therapy manufacturing facility and this enabled us to kick start our contract manufacturing activity.
RoslinCT aims to be the partner of choice by offering expert support and enabling companies to reach their patient safely and quickly. Cell and gene therapies are the new wave of medicine, they are potential cures rather than the treatment of symptoms as with traditional medicines.
At RoslinCT, we have the experience and expertise to bring these innovative therapies safely to the patients globally.
Why did RoslinCT choose to locate to BioQuarter?
The company has grown considerably and now occupies space within NINE, Edinburgh BioQuarter in addition to our new facility within BioCube.
BioQuarter has enabled us to grow the business incrementally, taking on additional space with each phase of growth.
Moving to Edinburgh BioQuarter provided us with an opportunity to engage with some of the leading stem cell scientists at SCRM, and through this support and our in-house expertise we were able to develop our induced Pluripotent Stem cell offering.
It has also been beneficial to work alongside other growing SMEs within life sciences and build our network more generally.
What are the plans for the future?
We have exciting and ambitious plans for growth over the next few years.
We are currently beginning the construction of a new manufacturing facility that will mark a new promising era for the company. The new state of the art 1,600 m2 facility will more than double our manufacturing capacity and will become an innovative hub for the manufacturing and production of cell and gene therapy products.
This facility will also be the home of our RoslinCT Training Academy. This expansion within Edinburgh BioQuarter, accelerates our development and manufacturing capability, promising to bring next-generation treatments to patients globally.
Beyond this, we are also developing plans for another facility to create further capacity and expand our service offering.
What do you enjoy most about BioLife?
I enjoy the opportunity to work alongside other growing life science companies in a pleasant environment.
Edinburgh BioQuarter is well positioned, being relatively close to the City Centre and with good transport links. Also, for a business like ours, the proximity to the Royal infirmary of Edinburgh provides a constant reminder of the importance of the patient.