Can Australian regenerative medicine therapies be hot-housed?

“Instead of the question: ‘can’, we should be asking the question as to ‘how’ regenerative medicine can be hot-housed”, said Silvio Tiziani, CEO of the Centre for the Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) Australia.

In the past ten years, the commercial potential of Australia’s long-term investment in regenerative medicine research has leapt forward.  There are no fewer than 15 clinical trials currently underway amongst the Australian companies invested in regenerative technologies. “Ten years ago very little clinical development in regenerative medicine was in play – it’s a very different story today,” said Tiziani.

The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) Australia established under the auspices of the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute (ARMI) in October 2016 is based on a proven and successful not-for-profit model from Canada.

The link with CCRM Canada offers Australian regenmed research and development access to CCRM’s global network of expertise and resources including venture capital funding and a large North American industry consortium. Academics will have access to leading international corporate partners, while industry will be able to link with researchers and facilities accompanied by state-of-the art skills, as well as regenmed specific licensing and regulatory expertise, much of which is simply not available in Australia or in short supply.

The CCRM model of operation is designed to overcome key bottlenecks that slow the application of regenerative medicine discoveries to real-world health problems.  Fast and preferential access to expertise, infrastructure, investors and knowledge is a global hot-house opportunity that Australia cannot afford to miss out on.

The Canadian CCRM has only been in operation for five years but it is already a global commercial leader for regenerative medicine and cell therapies.

It’s a well-documented phenomenon that industry clusters work in creating and accelerating innovation ecosystems to increase the rate of development and commercial outcomes.  “The collective wealth of knowledge, infrastructure and resources of a technology-focussed community will always outweigh the individual”, said Tiziani.  “What we need to see now within biotech industry clusters is investment in creating sub clusters or hot-house opportunities for like-technologies such as regenerative medicine”.

We are entering what many hope to be a golden age in Australian research that will see the realisation of multiple products reaching commercial and clinical outcomes because of a vastly improved ecosystem, including translational research funding and a more attractive landscape for investment and talent.

A recent report from Goldman Sachs, estimated that venture capital investments in regenerative medicine companies is growing roughly at 34% year-over-year, jumping from $US296 million in 2011 to $807 million in 2016.

“The report reinforces the rapidly escalating value of speculative regenerative medicine investments predominantly in the northern hemisphere.  Australian regemed needs to be able to capture a slice of this action, and through CCRM I know we can do that”, said Tiziani.

“I expect the global CCRM network to be the first of many technology hot-house opportunities emerging over the next few years”, said Tiziani.  “The intense hope around regenerative medicine research is really pushing the sector much harder than other lifescience sub sectors to deliver clinical benefits. We will all make far faster and more impactful progress if we can harness the resources and knowledge from a global network rather than simply relying on the local network and the efforts of individuals. A networked approach will also reduce research duplication, improve collaboration across boarders and ensure better use of infrastructure.  Who would not want access to a global network of trusted advisors and investors with all of the relevant experience and access that Australian regenerative medicine research and development requires.”