The merger was announced today of Roslin Cell Sciences and Roslin Cellab, two companies previously created as spin outs from the Roslin Institute and both focussed on using stem cells to discover new drugs. Following the merger, the parent company has been renamed Censo Biotechnologies Ltd with Roslin Cell Sciences Ltd continuing to trade as a wholly owned subsidiary.
Censo Biotechnologies has extensive capacity to create and use induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) for drug discovery research with sites in Edinburgh and Cambridge, UK. The Company uses this capacity to produce stem cells from large diverse groups of individuals, so that drug development companies can understand how the efficacy of their drugs varies across the population. This underpins faster drug development and enables the right drug to be targeted to the right patient.
Aidan Courtney, CEO of Censo Biotechnologies and Roslin Cell Sciences commented “I am delighted that we have been able to combine the resources which have developed in parallel in Roslin Cell Sciences and Roslin Cellab. The combined group will deliver a diverse range of research services to drug discovery companies which recognise the immense potential for using human stem cells and their derivatives in modern drug discovery. We will retain a connection to our Roslin Institute roots through the Roslin Cell Sciences subsidiary, but have taken the opportunity to develop a new corporate identity which highlights our ambition for the technology.”
First pioneered in 2006, induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology makes it possible to create stem cells in the laboratory from any person who donates a skin or blood sample. The stem cells can then be transformed into brain, heart and many other types of cell so that, for stem cells created from individuals suffering from a disease, researchers are then able to replicate the disease under laboratory conditions. This “disease in a dish” research is creating the means to study the early stages of many diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, which was previously not possible.
Drug discovery companies are increasingly recognising that iPSC technology will allow them to test potential new drugs in the laboratory more effectively – reducing the risk of expensive failures in clinical trials. Because human disease models are usually preferable to animal models, iPSC technology is expected to lead to fewer experimental animals being needed in future.