First spaceflight mission for drug development lab

International Space Station (ISS)

Redwire will launch its in-space pharmaceutical manufacturing platform, PIL-BOX, onboard SpaceX’s 29th cargo resupply services mission (SpaceX-29) for NASA to the International Space Station (ISS).

The platform is 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.

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.

On the inaugural PIL-BOX-01 mission, Eli Lilly is partnering with Redwire to conduct three 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.”

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.

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