Regenerative medicine has the potential to provide actual cures for patients, instead of being limited to treating symptoms. But when new markets like this are emerging, it can be difficult to gain traction with investors.
“It’s a long process, particularly in the therapeutic area where a lot needs to be invested in those early stages when ideas just aren’t proven,” says Mitchel Sivilotti, Chief Operating Officer at the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM).
CCRM is a leader in helping bring together the whole ecosystem of players needed to develop and commercialize regenerative medicine.
“An important reason why CCRM exists is because it’s very difficult for companies to get from that initial idea to the clinic, to the patient, to an organization that is creating revenue to grow an economy,” adds Sivilotti.
To help those ideas along, CCRM is there for every stage of the process.
Starting with academics and graduate students who are making important discoveries, CCRM provides the training they need to get their ideas off the ground, from a better understanding of intellectual property and patents, to knowing what to expect in the beginning stages of commercialization. Many graduate students who work with CCRM wind up being the future leaders of the spin off companies that they build together.
Then there’s the commercialization expertise needed at later stages. CCRM helps secure financial backing, but also guides further scientific work. They have laboratory facilities that help fill in the rest of the scientific gaps, resolve any unknowns in scaling up a manufacturing process, and prepare new treatment options for clinical trials.
While these are still early days for the regenerative medicine field, Sivilotti says it’s a good sign that regenerative medicine is starting to reach the market. For instance, a personalized T-cell immunotherapy developed at Novartis to treat leukemia was recently approved for patients in the United States, a trend that will likely spread into Canada soon.
“These are signs of the industry reaching a level of maturity where investors are becoming more confident,” says Sivilotti. “There’s going to be more investment in these companies, and it’s an industry that will start growing even faster than it already is.”