By Kristy Dorsey

Gene therapy manufacturer RoslinCT has received a “sizeable” investment that the company, led by chief executive Janet Downie, says will further its ambitions to become a leading global player in its field.

Global Healthcare Opportunities (GHO Capital Partners) has become the Edinburgh-based company’s first private equity investor via the undisclosed cash injection. GHO, a specialist healthcare investment advisor based in London, will use its network to support RoslinCT in the acquisition of new clients and the diversification of its product range.

Previously owned entirely by the University of Edinburgh and the Roslin Foundation, RoslinCT is the successor to Roslin Cells, which spun out of the Roslin Institute in 2006. The business, which became known as RoslinCT in 2015, works with leading biotech and life sciences companies from the UK, Europe and the US on the development of advanced cell therapies for the treatment of diseases such as strokes, blood disorders and macular degeneration.

“Having built RoslinCT and our highly-skilled team over many years I am delighted to have the support of GHO,” said Ms Downie, who joined Roslin Cells as a quality manager in 2007. “GHO have a wealth of healthcare expertise which is key as we look to drive global growth and expand our operations to meet rising international demand.

“With huge advancements being made in the cell therapy industry, RoslinCT is now perfectly positioned to truly become a global CDMO (contract development and manufacturing organisation), having gone from strength to strength in recent years. I see this as a very natural and exciting step for the business and we look forward to hitting further milestones with the backing of GHO.”

READ MORE: The girl from the croft says ‘we can’t grow fast enough’

Ms Downie joined Roslin Cells when its was a team of three people in a lab producing pluripotent stem cells, which can give rise to every type of cell in the body.

Demand for these types of cells was relatively low at that time but has grown dramatically in recent years as funding for companies developing cell and gene therapies has exploded. The advanced therapy market is currently forecast to grow at up to 50 per cent annually.

RoslinCT has had a manufacturing base within the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine since 2014. It recently expanded into facilities at the Edinburgh BioQuarter in a move that more than doubled its production capacity.

In a statement, GHO said it looks forward to helping the company become a global CDMO with commercialised cell therapy manufacturing capabilities.

“RoslinCT is renowned for its best-in-class services in developing and manufacturing advanced cell therapies and we are delighted to partner with the team,” GHO said.

READ MORE: Roslin Tech in multi-million bid to fund sustainable food

“With an established background in regenerative medicines and a strong foothold in Scotland as the leading centre for cell therapy research, RoslinCT, with our investment and specialist expertise, is uniquely positioned to drive the next stage of its growth.”

A spokesman for RoslinCT said the investment will be “impactful” for the business and is “incredibly exciting for all involved”.

“While it is difficult to predict the exact number of jobs that will be created, the investment enables us to add significantly more high-value jobs to Edinburgh and Scotland over the years to come, with a vision to also grow the team internationally,” he said.

“With GHO’s support, [we] will continue to attract best-in-class scientific talent to maintain and increase the company’s market-leading reputation for high science service provision and quality of product.”

Malcolm Bateman, chief executive of the Roslin Foundation, added: “I’m delighted to recognise the success of the company that I, along with colleagues at the Roslin Institute, created back in 2006. The Roslin Foundation have enjoyed working with the excellent team at RoslinCT over the years.

"This is a fantastic success story and we are confident that the company, in partnership with GHO, will continue to set the standard for high quality cell therapy manufacturing."