Dundee-based firm Cellexus has ambitious plans after receiving a £320,000 grant from Innovate UK.
The life sciences company develops and manufactures bioreactors under the CellMaker brand.
The CellMaker is a single-use, airlift bioreactor created for microbial fermentation, bacteriophage amplification and mammalian cell structures.
The system is currently available in 8 litres or 50 litres. The grant will fund the development of a 100 litre bioreactor.
Production of stem cells
Chief executive of Cellexus Gavin Hands says: “We have been working with a number of organisations to test suitability of the CellMaker for production of stem cells.
“We discovered there is a real challenge of manufacturing at scale that needs a solution.
“This has created a bottleneck in important industries, such as regenerative medicine, drug screening and biomedical research.
“A massive thank you to Innovate UK, without whom we couldn’t consider embarking on such a large project at this time.”
Cellexus is also working with the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Abertay University.
This project aims to prove CellMaker can be used to culture CHO cells.
These cells are a fundamental part of medical research and diagnostic tools, ranging from lateral flow tests, currently used to detect Covid-19, to anti-venom serums.
Adam Ostrowski, technical application manager at Cellexus, says: “CHO cells are the workhorse of advanced biotechnology.
“Partnering with IBioIC and Abertay University will enable us to prove that our CellMaker system can work with these cells, by providing us with access to laboratory facilities we wouldn’t normally have.
“This could potentially unlock a large and untapped market for us.”