PARTNERING TO BUILD THE GLOBAL REGENMED INDUSTRY By Peter Zandstra, Chief Scientific Officer, Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine
“You have to have a big vision and take very small steps to get there. You have to be humble as you execute, but visionary and gigantic in terms of your aspiration.” So says Jason Calacanis, an American internet entrepreneur and blogger. That’s good advice for any organisation, particularly a Canadian one looking to expand beyond its borders and affect real change. The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) is a 3-year-old Toronto-based notfor-profit group that is striving to be a global nexus of regenerative medicine technology and cell therapy development. As such, it is developing strategic partnerships outside of Canada to enable the sharing of intellectual property (IP) and to be a catalyst for the global translation of regenerative medicine research. “For a small, still relatively new organisation, CCRM is punching well above its weight,” declares Professor Chris Mason, University College London. “CCRM has a presence and an influence that will only grow as
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the organisation continues to make significant advances in the industry. From the UK perspective, because of its cell manufacturing technology focus, CCRM is an ideal North American partner for collaborative projects and initiatives related to getting new therapies into the clinic.” One of CCRM’s early collaboration agreements was signed with the UK’s Cell Therapy Catapult to support the development and commercialisation of RegenMed opportunities from the high impact technological discoveries emerging in their respective countries. The main targets for cell-based therapies represent high impact disease areas with significant unmet need, including oncology, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and autoimmune diseases. The partners want to work together on suitable R&D projects, clinical trials, standardisation and regulatory efforts, as well as initiatives such as training.
“CCRM and the Cell Therapy Catapult are both committed to moving potential therapeutic approaches from early stage research to the marketplace and there are many good arguments for combining our strengths and resources, and doing this together,” explains Dr. Michael May, President and CEO of CCRM. “If we can commercialise research faster and more effectively by partnering, then everyone benefits – especially the patient.” REGENERATIVE MEDICINE DATABASE One initiative currently underway with the Cell Therapy Catapult is the creation of a regenerative medicine company and clinical trials database that will be the world’s most comprehensive database on stem cell clinical trials. Once completed, it will be a valuable resource for industry, government and regulatory groups, scientists and patients. The Cell Therapy Catapult and U.S. groups are contributing data and support to build this valuable tool.
The Pathway to Innovation