Ischemia is a leading cause of death in the western world. Regenerative medicine aims to improve healing of ischemic injury by complementing pharmacologic/interventional treatments. Navigating regenerative therapies from ‘bench-to-bedside’ is a multistep time-consuming process, balancing cell expansion, purity, safety and efficacy while complying with regulatory guidelines. Studies started in academic laboratories unused to long-term planning often fail because of poor strategy design, lack of contingency plans or funding. We provide a strategic insight into our translation of saphenous vein-derived adventitial progenitor cells into a clinical grade product to treat angina. We discuss discovery phases, introduction of standard operating procedures and upgrade to clinical standards. We also examine contractual aspects of transferring to GMP-accredited facilities for clinical production and unexpected hurdles.