Vitro opens new stem-cell manufacturing facility

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Stem cell

Vitro Diagnostics has opened a new facility for the development and
manufacture of stem cell products for commercial application in the
pharmaceutical industry.

The plant, which is located in the Coors Technology Center in Golden Colorado, is fully compliant with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations covering the manufacture of human stem cell products. It will be used for the production of stem-cells for use in medical research, drug production and discovery, including cell therapy for diabetes. Vitro is leasing the unit from a third party at a rate comparable to its prior leases. Further details of the agreement were not disclosed. Dr. Jim Musick, Vitro's President and CEO, commented that the new facility puts in place: "the appropriate infrastructure to provide stem cell products that are manufactured to stringent specifications when combined with new manufacturing equipment that the Company has recently acquired​." Musick added that the plant provides plenty of scope for the production of new stem cell-based products in the future. He added that such additional capacity is "anessential development in our transition from research and development to [the] commercial manufacturing of biological products, given our recent R&D advances. The new facility is a decisive component of our future growth​." According to data released at last year's Stem Cell Summit, the global stem cell market has grown from zero to $87m in under three years and is predicted to reach a value of $8.5bn over the next decade. Pancreas derived stem cells ​Vitro's portfolio comprises more than 30 adult pancreas-derived stem cell lines that differ from the limited number of embryonic stem cell lines that are presently approved for federally funded research. While embryonic stem cells are capable of differentiating into all of the various cells of the body, adult stem cells are more limited in differentiation capacity and can generally only form cell types that make up their tissue of origin. Adult stem cells are currently used for transplantation therapy of blood disorders, including leukaemia. Vitro's focus is on the application of adult stem cells to therapeutic replacement of endocrine organs that produce hormones essential to physiological regulation of the body. Use of adult stem cells allows the firm to sidestep some of the controversial ethical issues that are associated with their embryonic counterparts. In addition to treatment of diabetes, Vitro believes that its stem cell generation technology can provide therapeutic solutions to other diseases or conditions resulting from death or degeneration of specific cells including, for example, age-related hearing loss, macular degeneration, muscular dystrophy, heart attack, and congestive heart failure and Parkinson's disease.

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