CCRM Australia Wrap Up 2021

2021 was a significant year for both the Centre for the Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) Australia and the Australian regenerative medicine industry. This end-of-year wrap up summarises the activities of the CCRM Australia team in 2021.

CCRM Australia kicked off its series of major events in April 2021 by facilitating the CCRM Australia – AbbVie Neuroscience Roundtable. This event created a forum for participants to understand current and future unmet needs in neuroscience research and facilitated opportunities for collaboration between universities and the regenerative medicine industry. This is the first of a series of roundtable discussions on specific items of interest where CCRM Australia collaborates with biopharma and ecosystem partners to discuss key issues and how to overcome them.

Then came July — one of the busiest months of the year for CCRM Australia. Starting with a pitching event on 9 July, the CCRM Australia National Regenerative Medicine SuperPitch III, where companies and researchers were invited to showcase their regenerative medicine projects. Participants benefited from expert feedback and commercialisation support from CCRM Australia. At the time of writing this article, one of the investor panel members is still in conversation with a participant for funding and support. Soon after SuperPitch III, we announced the formation of CCRM Australia Clarity, a multi-disciplinary think tank accumulating thought leadership, market research, and analysis to facilitate the commercialisation of regenerative medicine in Australia. The Clarity unit brings an academic focus to research. It develops strategies/opinions for our clients and partners, as well as blog articles that deliver impactful outputs or points of conversation.

We hosted the first workshop under the CCRM Australia Workshop Program at the end of July. The 2021 CCRM Australia Regulatory Workshop focused on extracellular vesicles — notably the manufacturing, regulation, quality control, and clinical concerns in this rising therapy area. Some key points that were discussed in the workshop include the TGA biologics classification scheme and consensus from international workshops on quality standards and processes. The minutes from this workshop is available from the CCRM Australia website.

October was no slouch for CCRM Australia, beginning with the announcement of the Expert in Residence Program in response to the growing demand for access to domain expertise within the rapidly-growing local regenerative medicine sector. The initial members of the program are recognised Australian professionals with specialist skills in commercialisation, clinical trials, regulation, intellectual property, and research expertise that the sector is seeking. This month, CCRM Australia also was proud to support the launch of the Snapshot of Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Companies, a publication of CCRMN Australia partner organisation the New South Wales Stem Cell Network. CCRM Australia also sponsored a session in the AusBiotech Conference that focussed on investigating regulatory approaches to regenerative medicine therapies.

In November, we hosted the final event for 2021: the CCRM Australia International Regenerative Medicine SuperPitch IV. Working with the CCRM and prospective CCRM hubs in the Netherlands and the Nordic States, this was our first international SuperPitch, and we were excited to have eight venture capital firms join as panellists.

Beyond events, we welcomed two new members to CCRM Australia. Dr Wade Kruger joined as Commercialisation Officer at CCRM Australia Attract, and Dr Anita Pinar joined as Communications, Events Coordinator, and Executive Assistant. They have already significantly contributed to CCRM Australia by connecting resources at the Attract Unit and coordinating the events mentioned above.

In preparing for 2022, CCRM Australia was also pleased to be leading the formation of The Solutions for Advanced Regenerative Therapies (SMART) CRC bid team on behalf of our partner organisations. This will be a major activity for 2022 and is just one way CCRM Australia can continue advancing and commercialising Australian regenerative medicine by fostering a strengthened industry-academic engagement.

This year marked a significant acceleration in momentum for advancing regenerative medicine in Australia. CCRM Australia appreciates the effort and support from our founding and partner organisations, as well as the team and interns that helped lead us to our exceptional achievements in 2021. Importantly, CCRM Australia would like to thank the State Government of Victoria for their continued support and invitation to be part of their entourage at BioKorea and BIO Digital.