Australia’s Cell and Gene Catalyst (Catalyst) has a new leader at the helm with the appointment of accomplished scientist and executive Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea AM as Catalyst Director.
The Catalyst is a joint venture between AusBiotech and Medicines Australia and aims to accelerate the development, manufacture and commercialisation of cell and gene therapies, in turn creating a prosperous cell and gene industry in Australia.
Dr Evans-Galea, with the support of the Expert Steering Group (ESG) of industry partners, will be responsible for leading the Catalyst’s strategic direction, development and delivery, with the aim of ensuring everyone in Australia has ready access to world-class advanced therapeutics such as CAR-T immunotherapies for cancer, and cell and gene therapies and gene-editing for debilitating inherited diseases.
“I am thrilled to be appointed as Director to the Catalyst and look forward to facilitating connections, opportunities and growth of Australia’s dynamic and vibrant advanced cell and gene sector. A thriving cell and gene sector will provide many benefits to Australia; as a former research scientist in this field, my personal driver is to help people living with debilitating diseases by making breakthrough treatments available in Australia,” said Dr Evans-Galea.
A number of strategic priorities have been identified for the Catalyst, with four key areas of focus. These are: attracting, building, and retaining world-class talent; fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing; creating a clear regulatory and market access pathway; and building Australian capability across the entire value chain.
AusBiotech CEO Lorraine Chiroiu said, “We are so pleased to welcome Dr Marguerite Evans-Galea to the team to lead this important initiative. Her expertise as a disease-focussed cell and gene scientist, and experience with academia, workforce development, public policy, and national programme management will be of huge benefit to the Catalyst. We look forward to engaging more with the ecosystem on what’s next for the Catalyst as Dr Evans-Galea settles into her role.”
The Catalyst originated from the work of AusBiotech’s Regenerative Medicine Consortium Project and the Strategic Roadmap for the Regenerative Medicine sector in Australia. The landmark strategy outlines key objectives and priority actions, underpinned by a comprehensive discussion of the primary obstacles facing the sector locally. The strategy identified five strategic goals: capabilities/workforce; collaboration; funding; regulation and policy; and infrastructure, aiming to identify how to support the development and commercialisation of the most advanced therapies in the world locally.
Leveraging the Regenerative Medicines Consortium Project’s exceptional foundation work throughout 2020-2021 that has cemented and benchmarked Australia’s place on the global RM map, the Catalyst will advance regenerative medicines policy, mobilise resources, build community engagement, establish shared measurement practices and support aligned activities.