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Jan 15, 2009 (Vol. 29, No. 2)

Identifying Best Practices for Advanced Therapies

U.K. Knowledge Transfer Network Initiates Dialogue on New Product R&D

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    Abcellute is developing an alternative method for preserving hepatocytes that protects the viability and function of cells with a proprietary gel.

    It is not too soon to consider the challenges of manufacturing advanced therapies, including cell- and tissue-based products, according to bioProcessUK. 

    The Knowledge Transfer Network, which was set up by the government to build the bioprocessing sector in the U.K., has made advanced therapies the focus of one of its special interest groups (SIG)—Advanced Therapies Group. Late last year, bioProcessUK held the inaugural workshop of its new SIG, “Bioprocessing for Advanced Therapies” in Edinburgh. The meeting was organized in collaboration with the Scottish Stem Cell Network (SSCN).

    While the initial focus at bioProcessUK was on recombinant proteins, there is a growing interest in vaccines and regenerative medicine, according to Malcolm Rhodes, Ph.D., technical director. It is also becoming clear that cell-based therapies will play a major part in the U.K.’s biotech pipeline in the future. “There is huge potential to reduce the cost and improve the availability of cell therapies through better product design and more efficient supply chains,” he said.

    The Advanced Therapies Group covers cell therapy, tissue engineering, and, perhaps in the future, gene therapy, and has links to other existing networks such as SSCN, the Institute of Chemical Engineers, and Remedi (an engineering and physics science research council regenerative medicine program in the U.K.).

    The group aims to promote a broad vision of the sector through the exchange of knowledge between academia, regenerative medicine companies, biotech companies, suppliers, and regulators.

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