The Australian Cell and Gene Catalyst takes step forward


AusBiotech and Medicines Australia have announced the next phase of their joint venture, the Cell and Gene Catalyst (the Catalyst), with the appointment of a new General Manager to drive the initiative, key priority areas identified and expert working groups currently being established.

The Catalyst aims to accelerate the development, manufacture and commercialisation of cell and gene therapies in Australia, positioning the country as a global leader in this field and driving economic growth. It will focus on strengthening the Australian ecosystem for cell and gene therapies, with a particular emphasis on building the country’s capabilities across the entire value chain.

This national joint venture is a collaborative effort between the two peak industry bodies, along with a steering group comprising CSL Behring, Novartis, Pfizer, Therapeutic Innovation Australia, and Cell Therapies.

Dr Jessica Morison has been appointed as the new General Manager to drive the initiative towards its strategic goals, and the work plan has now been finalised. A number of strategic priorities have been identified, with four key areas of focus now being worked on. 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.

The Catalyst is now calling for interested members and other industry partners to join their task and finish groups to contribute to these priority areas, and to the growth of the cell and gene therapy sector in Australia. There will be two groups established: Talent, Skills and Collaboration; and Market Access and Capability Building.

The groups will bring together experts from across the sector to address these specific focus areas and develop solutions that will support the growth of the ecosystem. They will involve representatives from industry, academia, government, and other key stakeholders.

"We believe that a thriving cell and gene therapy industry in Australia will have significant benefits for patients, the economy, and the global healthcare industry," said Dr Morison. "Through our work at Cell and Gene Catalyst, we are committed to making this vision a reality."

The Cell and Gene 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.

"We are thrilled to be entering the next phase of our operations with a new General Manager and a clear vision for the future," said AusBiotech CEO Lorraine Chiroiu. "These key areas of focus will help us achieve our goal of advancing the field of cell and gene therapies in Australia and making a significant contribution to the global industry."

“The future of medicine is rapidly evolving, and cell and gene therapies are leading the charge,” said Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia. “There are currently 140 of these therapies in the final stages of development around the world, however, only a few of these innovative treatments are currently approved and funded in Australia. 

“Australian patients must be able to access these innovative cell and gene therapies. The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review is a prime opportunity to reform our health system and speed up the time it takes to access them,” she said. 

Learn more about Cell and Gene Catalyst here. To get involved in the task and finish groups, please register your interest here.