Australia’s Cell and Gene Catalyst will move ahead, establishing its inaugural Steering Group and opening recruitment, formally signalling the important next step in advancing cell and gene accessibility in Australia.
The Steering Group to lead the Cell and Gene Catalyst (the Catalyst) is comprised of AusBiotech, Medicines Australia, CSL Behring, Novartis, Pfizer, Therapeutic Innovation Australia and Cell Therapies. The Catalyst will bring to life the Regenerative Medicines in Australia: A Strategic Roadmap for the Regenerative Medicines Sector through leadership, advice and support, as the Catalyst seeks to create an end-to-end world-class value chain that can discover, develop, manufacture, and distribute cell and gene therapies to Australian patients, while creating jobs, commercialising research, and exporting Australian therapies to the world.
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, a joint venture between national peak industry bodies AusBiotech and Medicines Australia, will advance regenerative medicines policy, mobilise resources, build community engagement, establish shared measurement practices and support aligned activities.
To drive and deliver on the Catalyst’s national strategy, a General Manager is now being recruited for a two-year period.
The Catalyst is also being supported by the Victorian Government’s Australian Medtech Manufacturing Centre (AMMC) to help examine manufacturing barriers and explore new opportunities for growth to unlock the potential for cell and gene manufacturing in Australia.
A new role will be established for a dedicated ‘Project Manager, Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing’ to develop a ‘blueprint’ report to build on the work published in Australia’s Regenerative Medicines Manufacturing Capacity and Capability, to determine what is needed to manufacture more cell and gene products locally, and develop specific recommendations and a strategy document addressing: workforce skills development, attraction and retention; strengthened collaboration across the value chain; opportunities for secure long-term investment; and positioning Australian manufacturing capability in global markets.
This role will work in harmony with the Catalyst and its General Manager, which will drive the broader Strategic Roadmap.
AusBiotech CEO, Lorraine Chiroiu said: “Australia offers a wealth of opportunity in cell and gene therapies, and the formation of the Cell and Gene Catalyst’s Steering Group is a powerful step towards realising our national potential. The leadership and commitment demonstrated by this group is notable, and denotes the significant impact these treatments may have for Australia and Australians.”
Medicines Australia CEO, Elizabeth de Somer said: “Cell and gene therapies are at the forefront of innovation and have the potential to revolutionise how we treat serious diseases. The Cell and Gene Catalyst is a timely initiative that will bring together global companies with Australian SMEs to drive better healthcare outcomes and help build an Australian innovation-led economy fit for the 21st century. Medicines Australia is pleased to partner with key players in the Australian life sciences ecosystem to make this a reality.”
CSL Behring’s ANZ Executive Director and General Manger Loretta Croker said: “CSL Behring is proud to support the Catalyst in advancing access to cell and gene therapies in Australia. We look forward to collaborating with our partners and translating this effort to those people living with rare and serious diseases.”
Pfizer Rare Disease Lead, Developed Asia, Koray Koksal said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what can be achieved when we collaborate with a sense of urgency to solve health challenges. Cell and gene therapies hold vast potential to deliver breakthroughs that change patients’ lives across the country. To achieve this, we must continue to invest in innovation, improve the speed of access to new treatments, and solve affordability challenges. The Cell and Gene Catalyst will ensure we have a strong, coordinated voice to advance these issues and to reduce the burden of disease.”
Cell Therapies Pty Ltd CEO, Peter Giannopoulos, said: “Australia’s Cell & Gene Therapy ecosystem is burgeoning and now is the time for Australia to invest in building sovereign capabilities and capacity, from translation of basic research through to delivery of cutting-edge products to patients. We are delighted to be part of the CGT Catalyst Steering Group and look forward to contributing to the growth of an industry that can do so much for so many patients in need.
Victoria’s Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Ben Carroll said: “Our support for this programme will help advance our capabilities in cell and gene manufacturing – backing our medtech sector to be at the forefront of innovation for the benefit of all Victorians.”