Industry backs new regenerative medicine consortium

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A new AusBiotech-led consortium has been established focussed on unlocking the potential of Australia’s regenerative medicine sector.

The new Regenerative Medicine (RM) Catalyst Body, which has been backed with $300,000 from MTPConnect’s Industry Growth Centre Project Fund, also includes Biointelect, Cell Therapies, Medicines Australia, MTPConnect, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Research Strategies.

The MTPConnect funding will be matched by industry contributions.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant said the initiative has been on the sector’s radar for some time because of the potential opportunities.

“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,” said Dr Grant.

“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.

The new consortium will focus on the development of a strategic roadmap for the Australian RM sector, a sustainable funding and structure for an RM sector ‘catalyst’ collaboration body, a regulatory white paper, the basis for annual benchmarking of the RM sector, as well as mapping the product development pathway and horizon scanning of the global gene and cell therapy pipeline.

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

“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.”