UK market developments: GHO Capital invests in RoslinCT, Symbiosis expands viral therapy capabilities

By Jane Byrne contact

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Blackholy
© GettyImages/Blackholy

Related tags: Cell therapies, CDMO, BSL-2, Viral vector

Healthcare investors, GHO Capital Partners LLP, have invested in Scotland based, RoslinCT, a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused on advanced cell therapies.

While the financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, a spokesperson for the investor group told us it is a sizeable investment and GHO is making a long-term commitment to support the growth of the business.

Established in 2006 in Edinburgh, with support from Scottish Enterprise, RoslinCT was formed through an initial spin-out from the Roslin Institute, an organization with a strong track record in genetic and cellular biology.

In 2014, the CDMO set up a manufacturing base within the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine.

It recently expanded into facilities at the Edinburgh BioQuarter. RoslinCT said it has an international customer base of blue-chip pharma and biotech companies, with the CDMO a partner from the development phase through to late-stage clinical manufacturing.

It has ambitious growth plans. 

Janet Downie, CEO of RoslinCT, told BioPharma-Reporter that "with the support of GHO Capital, the company will quickly move to the second stage of expansion which will include doubling of the manufacturing space focusing on new technologies for cell and gene therapies."

While the CDMO will be increasing its global reach from its base in Edinburgh, she said the ultimate vision is to  expand its manufacturing footprint globally, including have a US production facility. 

In May last year, we reported​ that the Edinburgh-based CDMO had been confirmed as a national training center, as part of the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) sponsored Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) initiative.

That network was established to develop state-of-the-art vaccine and advanced therapy manufacturing training capabilities online and across the UK.

The RoslinCT led training program​ is aimed at delivering practical and classroom courses at its facility in Edinburgh.

The week-long courses cover topics such as gowning and cleanroom behavior, environmental monitoring and control, aseptic cell processing, and analytical techniques.

BSL-2 product handling

In other UK market developments, Symbiosis Pharmaceutical Services, a contract manufacturing organization (CMO) specializing in sterile manufacture of vaccines, pharmaceuticals and biopharmaceuticals, has announced an expansion of its capabilities to handle novel and emerging treatments, such as viral based gene- and oncolytic-therapies. 

Headquartered in Stirling, Symbiosis said it has completed a physical and regulatory upgrade to its existing manufacturing suites to enable the safe manufacture of biopharmaceutical products that require biosafety level 2 (BSL-2) handling.

This, it said, would allow the CMO to meet the needs of the rapidly expanding viral vector cell and gene therapy market and allow for greater flexibility in the way existing and novel products can be handled.

The company told us that any ATMPs that use a replication competent virus are classed as BSL-2, the most common of these today are oncolytic viruses. "Non-replicative viruses which have a toxic payload may also be classified as BSL-2, depending on the risk assessment."

John McCormick, COO of Symbiosis, reckons that by adding new capabilities, such as BSL-2, the CMO is "much better placed"​ to meet the increasingly complex demands of the emerging therapies market. "A high proportion of these viral therapies target small patient populations, and thus require a much smaller scale production volume than traditional CMOs can offer.”

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