International collaboration to advance medical technologies and treatments for patients in Australia


  • 17 Dec 2018

Stem Cells Australia, the Canadian-based Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) and CCRM Australia have agreed to collaborate to advance the field of regenerative medicine and cell and gene therapies in Australia, signing a three-way Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) following the recent AusBiotech National Conference in Brisbane, Australia.

The MOU has been put in place to promote academic and industry collaboration between Australia, Canada and other international partners to advance the field. The collaboration aims to bring together the sophisticated national network of over 300 researchers that Stem Cells Australia has developed, with the access to critical infrastructure, novel technology, specialised expertise and targeted funding that CCRM and CCRM Australia are primed to provide. This will support the translation of cell and gene therapies into clinical and commercial uses and acknowledge our commitment to address government policy, regulation and legal and ethical issues.

“By working together, our three organisations will foster new opportunities to support research, translation and commercialisation of regenerative medicine technologies, helping us at an international and national level to address current barriers to delivering innovative cell and gene therapies,” said Melissa Little, Program Leader, Stem Cells Australia.

“CCRM’s international strategy involves partnering with leading academic and industry organizations in locations where there is excellent regenerative medicine science and a growing or thriving industry, and Australia has those criteria,” says Michael May, President and CEO, CCRM. “CCRM Australia is a testament to our commitment in Australia and our eagerness to collaborate. We are very pleased to extend this collaboration to Stem Cells Australia and its network of researchers.”

CCRM Australia CEO, Silvio Tiziani, said the collaboration exemplifies the emerging and vital mindset shift that is taking place in the commercialisation space. “We are delighted to be joining with Stem Cells Australia to foster stronger relationships between academia and industry. With this, we bridge a gap that has hampered not only regenerative medicine, but also research more generally,” commented Silvio.

Regenerative medicine, including cell and gene therapy, harnesses the power of stem cells, other types of cells, biomaterials and technologies such as genetic modification to repair, regenerate or replace a patient’s diseased or damaged cells and tissue. This approach is disrupting the traditional biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and potentially future healthcare, with the promise of innovative treatments for devastating and costly conditions such as heart disease, blindness and neurological conditions.

The recent Regenerative Medicine – Opportunities for Australia Report[1], released by MTPConnect on 31 October 2018 at the AusBiotech Conference, noted that the global market for regenerative medicine is forecast to grow to AU$120B by 2035 and that if Australia were to capture a five per cent share, this would represent AU$6B in annual revenue and create around 6,000 jobs.

The report identified commercialisation know-how, regulatory policy and collaborative networks as key impediments to developing regenerative medicine in Australia.

This new agreement paves the way for Australian researchers and industry to remain at the forefront of translating research discoveries into tomorrow’s medicine.