Launching Australia’s first Industry-Led Regenerative Medicine Catalyst Body to Boost Research and Commercial Opportunities

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28 October 2020

An AusBiotech-led consortium has been awarded $300,000 in funding from MTPConnect’s Industry Growth Centre Project Fund for a new collaboration and coordination body to unlock the potential of Australia’s regenerative medicine sector.

The Regenerative Medicine (RM) Catalyst Body will be led by AusBiotech with partners including:

  • Biointelect Pty Ltd
  • Cell Therapies Pty Ltd
  • Medicines Australia
  • MTPConnect
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Australia Pty Ltd
  • Research Strategies Australia

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant congratulated AusBiotech and consortia members for securing the funding, explaining that the initiative has been on the sector’s radar for some time now because of the potential opportunities to be unlocked.

“Now is our chance to maximise outcomes from an area of research for which Australia already has a strong international reputation. From conducting some of the world’s first human stem cell trials in the 1980s, the regenerative medicine field now accounts for around ten per cent of our medical researchers,” Dr Grant said.

“Australia has more than 30 companies developing RM products and more than 30 clinical trials in progress.

“Building on our strong research base, if we can scale-up our high-quality cell manufacturing and tissue engineering capabilities and lock-in rapid supply chains, we’ll be well-placed to take our RM therapies to the world.

“If we get this right - and can secure a bigger slice of the global RM market - success could be worth $6 billion in annual revenue and 6,000 new jobs for Australia by 2035.

“Setting up Australia’s first RM Catalyst body will make success a real possibility. Working together, we can build the RM sector so it can successfully compete at a global level - generating new and high paying jobs and further highlighting the critical importance of the entire MTP sector for the Australian economy,” he said.

In 2017 the AusBiotech Regenerative Medicine Advisory Group and MTPConnect identified the need for a national, sector-wide report to look-at the Australian RM sector and make recommendations on the priorities and goals for future growth. MTPConnect funded development of a report titled ‘Regenerative medicine: Opportunities for Australia’, working with LEK Consulting, AusBiotech, CCRM Australia and the AusBiotech Regenerative Medicine Advisory Group.

As well as detailing the sector’s enormous potential, the report examined what it would take to overcome the barriers to elevating Australia to be a leading RM country. One of the key findings was the need for a catalyst, collaborative body to review and work on growing the RM sector, along with input from industry.

Major outcomes of the project will include:

  • A researched, strategic roadmap for the RM sector’s development in Australia
  • Determining a sustainable funding and model structure for an RM sector ‘catalyst’ collaboration body
  • A regulatory white paper
  • Establishing annual data points and information resources to map/benchmark GMP manufacturing capability and capacity; establish a model for an annual clinical trial database; and capture investments in Australian RM
  • Mapping the pathway for a typical product from early research to market, and patients receiving a therapy
  • Mapping the global pipeline of gene and cell therapy products on the horizon.

AusBiotech CEO, Lorraine Chiroiu said: “AusBiotech is delighted to be joining with a high-quality consortium of organisations to further build the foundations for regenerative medicine in Australia.

“The potential health benefits of a surging regenerative medicine sector were until quite recently more likely to be considered science fiction than reality, but the evidence is mounting; the outcomes stunning – and the excitement for the sector’s future is too good to ignore. 

“However, Australia is underprepared to capitalise on the opportunities gene and cell therapies can deliver. This project will bring together, for the first time, the entire ecosystem, and focus our efforts for best effect. From SME to multinational, investor to manufacturer, patient to employee, this project will prepare us for the road ahead.”

The MTPConnect funding will be matched by industry contributions.

Regenerative medicine is a relatively new field of research that treats injuries and diseases by harnessing the body's own regenerative capabilities using new technologies such as nanotechnology, bioengineering and stem cell therapy.