About

Retrogenix advances medical research and speeds up drug discovery for its clients by providing a unique service which identifies specific cell surface and secreted protein interactions in human cells. Our results help scientific breakthroughs to be made; assist with critical decision making in pharmaceutical development; and provide key data to support the regulatory applications that are required before new medicines can be safely given to patients. Retrogenix now has research agreements with all top twenty global pharmaceutical companies, numerous drug discovery companies and many leading academic and non-for-profit institutions around the world.

Our results have been published in many high-impact journals including: Nature, Nature Medicine, JBC, Molecular Cancer, Cancer Cell, Cancer Immunology Research, J. Med. Chem., mAbs, mBio and Oncotarget. Members of our team are regularly invited to present at international conferences. In 2015, Retrogenix won its first Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s most prestigious business accolade – in recognition of its innovative work in developing and commercialising the cell microarray technology. This was followed in 2017 by a second Queen’s Award for outstanding achievements in international trade.

As well as the unique cell microarray technology, Retrogenix also holds one of the world’s largest collections of plasma membrane and secreted protein clones which are individually expressed in human cells. The collection now exceeds 6,200 full-length expression clones, with many proteins represented by multiple variants.

Part of the Charles River Group, Retrogenix is based in High Peak, UK, and all project work is undertaken by highly skilled scientists in our specialist laboratory facilities on-site.

Our History

In 2008, pharmaceutical scientist Dr Jim Freeth identified a powerful, physiologically-based approach for target deconvolution and receptor identification using human cells. Realising that this approach could overcome a major hurdle in medical research and drug discovery, Jim formed Retrogenix Limited with fellow scientist Jo Soden to develop the cell microarray technology. The team successfully raised private equity investment in 2009 and launched the cell microarray screening service in 2010.

Quickly out-growing its start-up labs in Sheffield, UK, Retrogenix relocated to bespoke laboratory facilities at Whaley Bridge in the UK’s Peak District National Park in 2012, expanding the team to deliver the increasing amount of project work and to continue with the essential research and development that ensures the cell microarray technology delivers exceptional results.

By 2013, the Retrogenix technology had facilitated a major breakthrough for a group studying a particularly deadly form of malaria which kills around half a million children per year. This advance paved the way for vaccines and therapies to be developed. The results of this study were published in the leading scientific journal Nature (2013; 498:502). This was quickly followed by other studies showcasing the success of the technology in diverse research areas such as: oncology; other infectious diseases; neurological, inflammatory, autoimmune and metabolic diseases. In 2018, Retrogenix moved again to larger purpose-built facilities in the Peak District in order serve increasing demand for its services worldwide, and continue its rapid growth. By 2020, the company had expanded again, within its current location, more than doubling its premises space and headcount.

In March 2021, Retrogenix was acquired by leading global CRO Charles River Laboratories, becoming part of Charles River’s integrated end-to-end solution for therapeutic antibody, and cell and gene therapy discovery and development.

A double Queen’s Award holder, Retrogenix continues to lead the way in receptor identification and off-target profiling and was the first company to develop a reliable screen for assessing the specificity of cell therapies (such as CAR T cell). Retrogenix’s specificity screening data are often included in applications for clinical trials (INDs) and biologics marketing approvals (BLAs), and are widely accepted by regulators around the globe.

We were impressed with the power of the Retrogenix technology in terms of on/off target characterization of early drug candidates. Their quick turnaround time and excellent, proactive communication was a real pleasure.
Dr. Bernd Schlereth, Senior Director Nonclinical Safety, Covagen
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Aveo Oncology - The Human Response
Theraclone Sciences
BioInvent
AstraZeneca
Bluebird Bio
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The Center for Infectious Disease Research
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The University of Copenhagen
Lund University
MedImmune
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The University of Pennsylvania
Scripps Florida - The Scripps Research Institute
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The University of Sheffield
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