Recipient: Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM)
Program: Advanced Manufacturing Fund
Total funding allocated: $20 million
In the face of incurable diseases that continue to challenge medical research worldwide, Canada is poised to be a leader in regenerative medicine. The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), through its advanced cell research, is discovering how cell therapies can treat chronic conditions and is providing alternatives to traditional medicines or surgeries.
And with the combined expertise of GE Healthcare and other industry partners, CCRM is working to bridge the gap between pre-clinical research and commercially ready manufacturing of cell and gene therapies.
This forward-thinking, collaborative approach sparked FedDev Ontario’s funding investment of $20 million to CCRM through the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which was matched by GE Healthcare, to build and operate the Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies (CATCT).
As the first cell therapy development facility in the world, CATCT positions Toronto to be a global hub for regenerative medicine.
Situated in Toronto’s renowned MaRS Discovery District, CATCT is accelerating the development of cell manufacturing technologies by offering a variety of scientific and business services to companies in the biotech industry. Scientists now have access to valuable resources, including onsite consultation offices and a large, fully equipped lab.
“In a short period of time, CATCT has made progress in addressing specific bottlenecks limiting commercial-scale manufacturing of cell and gene therapies,” explains Dr. Michael May, President and CEO, CCRM. “We are working to identify, develop and adopt advanced manufacturing solutions that will benefit the global industry.”
Since CATCT’s researchers (who have 300 years of combined cell and gene therapy experience) moved into the space in 2017, the team has tackled high-impact health challenges, such as cancer and heart disease.
To ensure products are consistently produced and controlled, CCRM is partnering with University Health Network to build the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) facility. This facility, scheduled to open in October 2018, will help CATCT provide more efficient technology transfer and process development services to support manufacturing. The GMP facility will enable therapeutic developers to manufacture their products in Ontario and then export them worldwide, in a safe and efficient manner, creating high-value job opportunities for the region in the process.
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“Ontario manufacturing capability ensures that the companies that we are launching, scaling and attracting are sustainable in Ontario. FedDev Ontario funding has been critical to building sustainability into our commercialization strategy,” says Dr. May.
As research progresses and cures to common diseases appear within reach, facilities like CATCT are more important than ever.
“These efforts are creating high-paying jobs and drawing significant investment to Ontario, while accelerating the pathway of revolutionary new therapeutics to patients,” says Dr. May. “It is a success on many levels.”