April 8, 2020

Space Tango Wins NASA Utilization Awards for LEO Commercialization of Biomedical Applications

Continued Focus on Development of Automated Capabilities and Infrastructure Supporting Creation of a New Sector in the Space Economy

LEXINGTON, Ky. – April 8, 2020 – Space Tango, a leader in the commercialization of low-Earth orbit (LEO) for discovery and on-orbit manufacturing across a wide range of applications, today announced the award of three projects focused on biomedical application development on the International Space Station (ISS) that will be supported by the NASA Research Opportunities for ISS Utilization. These projects will serve as a foundation for the development of capabilities and an infrastructure supporting the creation of a new biomedical market sector in the expanding space economy.

Awarded projects include:

  • Protein-based Retinal Implant Manufacturing using the International Space Station
    Partnering Organization: LambdaVision
  • Development of An Orbital Laboratory to Advance Stem Cell Therapies and Regenerative Medicine
    Partnering Organization: UC San Diego/Sanford Consortium
  • Development of Capabilities to Support Production of Stem Cells for Personalized Medicine Applications Utilizing the International Space Station
    Partnering Organization: Cedars-Sinai

“We appreciate the support from NASA for our efforts to establish biomedical discovery manufacturing capabilities on orbit,” said Twyman Clements, co-founder and chief executive officer of Space Tango. “In contrast to manufacturing technology products on orbit, this sector requires unique automated capabilities to support complex biology and infrastructure that complies with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations ensuring pharmaceutical quality for products intended for human use. We are excited to be working with our excellent partners that bring world-class science and industry experience as we establish this emerging commercial biomedical market in low-Earth orbit.”

Development of LEO opportunities for a variety of commercial applications continues to gain steam and will be a growing part of the modern economy. Estimates from Morgan Stanley predict that the revenue generated by the global space industry, which today consists mainly of satellites that leverage only one aspect of LEO as the vantage point of space, will increase to $1.1 trillion or more by 2040, up from $350 billion in 2016. This illustrates the enormous potential of the expanding space economy and the opportunity for the creation of new markets that will drive further commercial applications that will benefit Earth.

“Our hope is that our collective efforts will further improve LambdaVision’s production processes, helping to more efficiently pave the way to a treatment option that may one day restore vision for patients who would otherwise be unable to see,” said Nicole Wagner, PhD, chief executive officer, LambdaVision and co-principal investigator of the award.

“We envision that the next thriving ecosystem of commercial stem cell companies, the next nexus for biotechnology, could be created 250 miles overhead by the establishment of these capabilities on the ISS,” said Catriona Jamieson, MD, PhD, co-principal investigator of the award and Koman Family Presidential Endowed Chair in Cancer Research, deputy director of Moores Cancer Center, director of the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center and director of the CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinic at UC San Diego Health.

“The development of new approaches to address current stem cell manufacturing challenges has the potential to change the paradigm of personalized medicine,” said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute and co-principal investigator of the award.

About LambdaVision
LambdaVision is developing a protein-based artificial retina to restore meaningful vision for the millions of patients blinded by retinal degenerative diseases, including retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The patent-protected artificial retina technology developed by LambdaVision uses photoactive proteins to naturally mimic the light-absorbing properties of human photoreceptor cells and activate neuroreceptors still present in degenerated retinas of blind patients. Founded as part of the UConn Technology Incubator Program, LambdaVision along with its research partners, have secured over $8.0 million to date in state and federal funding. To learn more, visit lambdavision.com.

About Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine
The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine combines the intellectual capital of five world-class biomedical research institutions (the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, The Scripps Research Institute, and the University of California, San Diego) engaged in stem cell research that is seeking breakthrough cures. The Consortium, an independent 501(c)(3) organization, unites San Diego’s top researchers in a $127 million facility that provides 150,000 square feet of space that was specifically designed to promote collaborative, team research. For more information, visit www.sanfordconsortium.com.

About Cedars-Sinai
Cedars-Sinai is a leader in providing high-quality healthcare encompassing primary care, specialized medicine and research. Since 1902, Cedars-Sinai has evolved to meet the needs of one of the most diverse regions in the nation, setting standards in quality and innovative patient care, research, teaching and community service. Today, Cedars-Sinai is known for its national leadership in transforming healthcare for the benefit of patients. Cedars-Sinai impacts the future of healthcare by developing new approaches to treatment and educating tomorrow’s health professionals. Additionally, Cedars-Sinai demonstrates a commitment to the community through programs that improve the health of its most vulnerable residents. To learn more, visit www.cedars-sinai.org.

About Space Tango
Space Tango provides improved access to microgravity through their Open Orbit platform for research and commercial manufacturing applications that benefit life on Earth. The Company believes the microgravity environment is a new frontier for discovery and innovation. Space Tango is focused on creating a new global market 250 miles up in low-Earth orbit and envisions a future where the next important breakthroughs in both healthcare and technology will occur off the planet. Recognized for their expertise in microgravity design and operations, Space Tango believes that by exploring with industry and educational partners of all kinds, we can improve life on Earth and inspire the next generation to continue to expand the horizon of this new frontier. For more information, visit www.spacetango.com.

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Danielle Rosales
Marketing and Communications
Space Tango