Jump to navigation Jump to content

RoslinCT opens new state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility


A new state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy manufacturing facility on Edinburgh BioQuarter has been formally opened by Ian McCubbin CBE on behalf of Sir Patrick Vallance, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government.

The BioCube is an additional facility for RoslinCT, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of human cell and gene therapies, which works with clients to develop and manufacture life-changing therapies and cures for patients suffering from some of the most debilitating medical conditions.

Scotland is one of Europe’s foremost locations for the development of stem cell technologies and RoslinCT’s pioneering work and cutting-edge science has been at the forefront of that effort, achieving several global firsts in the field of human cell and gene therapies.

Edinburgh BioQuarter, where RoslinCT is headquartered, is a leading global destination for healthcare delivery, ground-breaking medical research and life sciences innovation and entrepreneurship.

RoslinCT’s new, additional 1,600 square-metre facility includes five ’clean rooms’ and a dedicated teaching laboratory that will be home to its Training Academy, where the firm’s employees and scientists from external organisations will be able to learn and develop their skills and expertise in this important and growing field.

RoslinCT has hired 60 people in the past year and intends to add another 30 full-time employees before the end of 2021, taking headcount to 150 people in order to satisfy demand for its services.

In May 2021, the company was confirmed as one of three National Training Centres within the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN), a UK government-backed initiative set up by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in collaboration with industry and designed to deliver training in high impact advanced therapy and vaccine manufacturing. RoslinCT will collaborate with the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Alliance (SULSA) and other academic institutions to deliver both theory and practical courses on sterile manufacturing.

Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, said: “ Cell therapies and genetically-modified cell therapies are huge advances for medicine which are already making a profound difference to the lives of patients, many of them children. The ability to genetically manipulate cells and let them do the work – to become the therapy themselves – is going to transform medicine in a number of areas and in a number of different ways, providing life-changing opportunities for the treatment of genetic and other disorders.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of this new facility and its ability to enhance the potential of the UK as a manufacturing base for these high-tech therapies that will change everything from how we approach cancer treatments to how we deal with rare genetic diseases. The BioCube is an important new part of the overall UK landscape and I offer my congratulations to RoslinCT on this significant step in what is a very important mission.”

RoslinCT was established in 2006 as a spin-out from the Roslin Institute, which became famous internationally in 1996 for its pioneering work in cloning Dolly the sheep. RoslinCT is chaired by Ian McCubbin CBE, who has more than 30 years’ experience of pharmaceutical manufacturing and supply, most recently as a member of the UK government’s vaccine taskforce, established in response to the coronavirus in 2020.

Ian McCubbin CBE, Chairman of RoslinCT and a member of the UK Government’s Vaccine Taskforce, said: “ RoslinCT has a proven track-record in hiring many talented scientists to do some of the most ground-breaking manufacturing work in the cell and gene therapies space, pushing the boundaries in this field while developing deep partnerships with clients. That world-class team now has a world-class facility in which it can both work and learn, ensuring we continue to invest in developing our people and their knowledge and expertise to the benefit of our clients and, ultimately, patients living with a range of conditions.”

RoslinCT is a cell and gene therapy Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO), which means it translates and develops cell and gene therapy research into robust processes which it then progresses to manufacturing. All processes are developed to adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), enabling clients to deliver safe therapies to patients. GMP is a globally recognised system designed to ensure pharmaceutical products are created and controlled according to the highest quality standards.

Janet Downie, Chief Executive of RoslinCT, said: “ It has been my vision to create a world leading CDMO here in Edinburgh and the opening of the BioCube is just the first step in the significant expansion of the already thriving business, both here in Edinburgh and internationally. We have doubled in size within the last 12 months and it is a great pleasure to lead such a talented and inspirational team. I am proud of what we have achieved to date and excited to see the life changing therapies that will be produced from the BioCube in the coming years with our clients, and the positive impact that will have on patients.”