VRI Member Space Applications Services helps Covid-19 Medicament Development
This weekend there has been a launch, by the ICE Cubes Service of Space Applications Services (Belgium), to Europe’s Columbus module at the International Space Station of an instrument to research remdesivir based treatment of COVID-19.
As you may recall the end-to-end ICE Cubes system and service was developed by Space Applications Services in 2016/2017, to simplify access to space, with support of a grant from the European Commission’s SME initiative and in partnership with the European Space Agency. Since then the service has been used by customers from around the world.
The 21st SpaceX cargo mission, launched this weekend, is carrying a “first of its kind” experiment related to COVID-19, to our ICE Cubes lab in space (the so called Kirara2 mission). Hungarian companies InnoStudio Inc. and CycloLab Cyclodextrin R&D Laboratory Ltd. will incubate the remdesivir-based medicament Veklury® for treatment of COVID-19 using protein crystalisation equipment provided by the Japan Manned Space Systems Corporation (JAMSS).
The investigation combines the advantages of the microgravity environment with advanced drug research to improve understanding of complex formulation processes. As such it is also a key initiative of the pharma industry to use microgravity to increase the number of tools and processes available for the development of new medicines.
This is an example of the benefits to society of encouraging innovative private enterprise.