Space Tango

Research and manufacturing in the microgravity environment – from design to implementation.

Created: 2018-11-07

Updated: 2021-01-08

Company - Space Tango

Founded
Country
2014
USA
Website
Space Tango
Social
Space Tango

Service - TangoLab, ST-42, CubeLabs

Classification
Microgravity & ISS Flight Service
Category
ISS Utilization Service
Microgravity Flight Service (LEO)
Fields
Biological Research
Biotech
Medicine and Drugs
Status
3) Development
First launch
2019

We build research and manufacturing systems into compact smart containers, called CubeLabs™. Installed in our hubs on the International Space Station, CubeLabs run autonomously and provide near real-time data and monitoring capabilities. The microgravity environment is a new frontier for discovery and innovation. By exploring it with industries of all kinds, we can improve life on Earth.

Space Tango and its partner Cedars-Sinai of Los Angeles are developing pilot-scale systems for the production in space of large batches of stem cells to be used in personalized medical treatment for a variety of diseases. The development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) for commercial personalized medicine applications is done in space because the work to date on the space station demonstrates stem cells retain their “stemness” for longer durations in microgravity, allowing a delay of differentiation that has the potential to enable larger batches of cells to be produced. The pilot-scale systems, built for the space station to serve as basis for future commercial manufacturing systems, will incorporate regulatory strategies to support FDA clinical trial production of personalized medicine stem cell therapies on the space station. This includes Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) conditions, required for production of stem cell therapies for human use in patients.

Space Tango and its partner LambdaVision of Farmington, Connecticut, are developing a system to manufacture protein-based retinal implants, or artificial retinas, in microgravity. The market for this work is millions of patients suffering retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of blindness for adults over 55 years old. This effort builds on a validation flight completed in late 2018 that demonstrated the proof of concept for generating multilayered protein-based thin films in space using a miniaturized layer-by-layer manufacturing device. This project will further mature the manufacturing system, producing protein-based artificial retinas in space that would be returned to Earth for surgical implant to restore sight for patients suffering from degenerative retinal diseases. This work will establish the necessary regulatory requirements for producing biomedical products in space, including Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP). The microgravity environment of space hinders convection and sedimentation in the manufacturing process, enabling more uniform layers, improved stability and higher quality than can be produced on Earth. 

Space Tango and its partners at UC San Diego/Sanford Consortium in La Jolla, California, are working to establish a new on-orbit biomedical sector for stem cell advancement, with a fully operational self-sustaining orbital laboratory anticipated by 2025. The team is working to refine current hardware capabilities and process flow, extending the capabilities of ground-based laboratories with regular access to the space station via secured flight opportunities. Stem cells differentiate into tissue specific progenitors that can be used in microgravity to better understand aging and immune dysfunction, providing an opportunity to accelerate advances in regenerative medicine and the development of potential new therapeutic approaches. The target market for this orbital laboratory is a new approach to stem cell translational medicine.

Sources


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