RNL Biostar Inc., a subsidiary of the Seoul-based company RNL Bio Inc., has been based in Rockville, Maryland since 2006. Now, in addition to its facility at the Technology Development Center, it plans to add a new facility in Germantown, worth $6 million, to which the company also plans to add 50 newly hired employees over the next 3 to 5 years. The new positions will include manufacturing technicians and lab personnel in addition to administrative personnel. According to Donna Lee, director of business development at RNL, "There will be pretty big growth spurts because of the amount of work we have."
The new RNL facility will be converted from an already existing structure, which currently occupies nearly 10,000 square feet and comprises a combination of labs and office suites. RNL Biostar projects that its facilities will occupy 20,000 square feet by 2014.
Currently RNL is in Phase II clinical trials for the testing of its proprietary adult stem cell products for the treatment of osteoarthritis and Buerger’s Disease, which is an inflammatory and blood clotting condition. Additionally, the company has received FDA authorization to commence clinical trials with its adult stem cell product in the treatment of spinal cord injury, which are scheduled to start at the end of the year.
RNL’s proprietary products are formulated from adult stem cells that are harvested from adipose (fat) tissue. According to Ms. Lee, "In Maryland, the fat samples come to our lab here first. People send in their fat and we extract stem cells out of the fat and ship them in nitrogen tanks to Korea, where cells are cultured and multiply. We have helped a lot of people with rheumatoid arthritis with a one-time IV injection. It’s really amazing to watch."
However, the U.S. citizens who donated their own adipose-derived adult stem cells must travel to China or Japan for the injections, since such treatments are not allowed in the U.S., due to a severely antiquated FDA.
RNL has also developed a stem-cell-based hand cream.