Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW), a leader in space infrastructure for the next generation space economy, announced today the first spaceflight mission for its cutting-edge in-space pharmaceutical manufacturing platform, PIL-BOX, designed to offer pharmaceutical companies and researchers novel and flexible services to grow small-batch crystals of protein-based pharmaceuticals and other key pharmaceutically relevant molecules for research. The new platform will launch onboard SpaceX’s 29th cargo resupply services mission (SpaceX-29) for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS).
On the inaugural PIL-BOX-01 mission, Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly) is partnering with Redwire to conduct three critical experiments focused on developing advanced treatments for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pain.
“The microgravity environment is a game changer for pharmaceutical drug development, which has a greater than $240 billion annual spend in 2022, and has tremendous potential to save and improve life on Earth,” said Redwire Executive Vice President John Vellinger. “PIL-BOX presents us with a brand-new capability for developing critical, life-saving treatments, like insulin, for diseases like diabetes and heart disease. With PIL-BOX, Redwire is providing a critical capability for researchers and enabling them to develop novel forms of crystals to create better, more successful treatments for patients.”
Understanding crystal growth and design can inform the entire drug development and design process as pharmaceutical companies look to deliver new, optimized treatments to help patients on Earth. Previous spaceflight investigations indicate that growing crystals in space could yield a more uniform product with fewer imperfections, which can improve the drug discovery and development process.
PIL-BOX technology builds from Redwire’s multi-decade space crystallization flight heritage, which dates back to the space shuttle era through its Advanced Space Experiment Processor. PIL-BOX is being developed in partnership with NASA, through its In Space Production Applications flight demonstrations program, which is focused on stimulating demand in low-Earth orbit.
On SpaceX-29, Redwire is also launching materials for an investigation that will bioprint cardiac tissue on orbit using Redwire’s BioFabrication Facility (BFF). This type of technology could be used to develop heart patches that can be applied to the outside of damaged hearts and advances our ability to print complex, thick tissues that cannot be produced on Earth. In September, Redwire announced that it had successfully 3D bioprinted the first human knee meniscus on orbit using BFF. The print returned to Earth for further study and analysis.
PIL-BOX and BFF are part of Redwire’s broad portfolio of space biotech and microgravity development capabilities targeting the use of the unique environment in space to enhance life on Earth.
Redwire Corporation (NYSE: RDW) is a global leader in mission critical space solutions and high reliability components for the next generation space economy, with valuable intellectual property for solar power generation, in-space 3D printing and manufacturing, avionics, critical components, sensors, digital engineering and space-based biotechnology. It combines decades of flight heritage with an agile and innovative culture. The company’s “Heritage plus Innovation” strategy enables it to combine proven performance with new, innovative capabilities to provide its customers with the building blocks for the present and future of space infrastructure. For more information, please visit redwirespace.com.