EBiSC was established to address the increasing demand by iPSC researchers for quality-controlled, disease-relevant research grade iPSC lines, data and cell services. A second project phase (EBiSC2) launched on 1st March 2019 incorporating key members of the first project phase continues to distribute disease-relevant and high quality iPSCs, along with comprehensive datasets. Additional services such as bulk production of iPSCs and delivery of pre-differentiated cell populations will be established to facilitate the use of iPSCs in research. EBiSC2 will continue collaborating with other ongoing or future iPSC programmes to continue serving as a central hub for collection, banking, quality control and distribution of iPSC lines, resulting in secured access for the research community to assets generated with public funds within these projects. Building on EBiSC's established clinical network, EBiSC2 will also progress clinical engagement to support collection and appropriate management of disease-relevant patient data to support disease modelling and drug discovery activities.
The EBiSC2 Consortium (2019-2022) including EFPIA partners, boasts the leadership, scientific expertise, facilities, networks and experience to achieve these goals and, being representative of all stakeholders from tissue donors to clinical and academic iPSC researchers and industrial users, to respond appropriately to advances in science and society. Led by Janssen Pharmaceutica and coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute of Biomedical Engineering (IBMT), the Consortium includes active participant iPSC Centres with clinical and patient networks, a global leader in industrial iPSC supply, international experts in iPSC pluripotency, disease modelling and drug discovery, biobanking, bioengineering and regenerative medicine.
The EBiSC Banking Entity is represented by the European Cell Culture Collection (ECACC) of Public Health England (Department of Health, UK) who coordinates cell line distribution worldwide. The Fraunhofer IBMT (Saarbrücken, Germany) provides comprehensive operational back up. Both of these key sites are responsible for cell line banking and quality control in accordance with DIN EN ISO9001:2015 guidelines.
EBiSC currently holds > 800 iPSC lines in its catalogue, with a capacity up to 10,000 cell lines. EBiSC started in 2014 with a set of iPSC lines contributed by EBiSC partner iPSC Centres, progressing to collecting and generating further iPSC lines based on specified user demand, and reaching full scale operations in 2016. To become self-sustaining as a not for profit banking operation in the next few years will be the ultimate goal.
EBiSC will spearhead Europe in the international standardisation of iPSC banking by forging collaborative links with similar endeavours in the USA and Asia. Through market research, stakeholder engagement, incentives and training, EBiSC will promote wider participation and use, maximise the value of the research resource, and secure its longevity. EBiSC will promote iPSC technology and global iPSC banking, strengthen the competitiveness of European R&D, and enhance the health and wealth of nations.
In addition to the provision of financial support, pharmaceutical company partners led by Janssen will contribute "in kind" to the project through provision of cell lines and data, as well as their scientific expertise and extensive business experience in applied iPSC research for drug development purposes, to ensure that EBiSC will meet the diverse, commercial user needs for iPSC lines.
A legal and ethical framework established in the first project phase will be maintained and further developed with input from industry experts to ensure a responsible and responsive governance framework that will optimise the utility and longevity of the Bank by establishing robust documentation for donor consent, material deposition and end user agreements for academic and commercial use, in line with the IMI's requirements. This will include generation, deposit and distribution of iPSC lines for commercial use.
The Project Administration Office provided by ARTTIC supports the Project Coordination team in the project administration and the reporting to IMI-JU and serves as contact point for the consortium partners for various matters. ARTTIC also supports the different dissemination activities of the consortium.
In addition, EBiSC will benefit from scientific and ethical advice provided by independent international experts.