Toronto-based CCRM, which develops and commercializes regenerative medicine-based technologies and cell and gene therapies, and McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to partner in the development of a biomanufacturing campus at MIP focused on regenerative medicine-based technologies and cell and gene therapies. The LOI advances a months-long relationship between CCRM and MIP, and formalizes their intent to co-develop a business case around the construction and operation of what is envisioned to be Canada’s largest and most advanced contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), according to Michael May, PhD, president and CEO of CCRM, who adds that the envisioned facility will enable CCRM to scale its operations and provide space, services and support to cell and gene therapy focused ventures from across Canada and the world.
The agreement, which is focused on an initial CDMO facility to produce cells and viral vectors for Phase III clinical trials and commercial-scale manufacturing, represents the first phase of a long-term initiative to develop a biomanufacturing campus at the innovation park, and thus form the western anchor of the emerging life science corridor spanning from Hamilton to Toronto. The short-term priority is to develop a costed facility design and an investment thesis that the parties will use to secure industry, regulatory and government support, along with the funding necessary for its construction and operation.
“Our partnership with MIP is about more than building a facility,” explains Michael May. “This is about building domestic manufacturing capacity within the region for the next generation of medical advances. Our expectation is that the biomanufacturing campus within MIP, and the CDMO, will result in jobs, economic stimulus for the region and, most importantly, life-saving products for patients. For Canada, our opportunity to be amongst the global leaders in cell and gene therapy is of strategic significance.” CCRM will retain its current Toronto offices, research facilities, and manufacturing facilities in the MaRS Centre.
“The introduction of CCRM to MIP’s innovation ecosystem is in the context of MIP’s 2.8 million sq. ft. Life Sciences ‘MegaHub’, announced earlier this year,” adds Ty Shattuck, CEO of MIP. “CCRM will be an anchor within the MIP, and because they will retain their research facilities within MaRS, it will act as an ongoing and active connection between two of the most advanced life science ecosystems within Canada. Today, entrepreneurs, leading global companies and investors in the life sciences increasingly see the Toronto-GTA-Hamilton area as a global-caliber life sciences corridor. This region has established itself as a prolific global leader in life sciences innovation. MIP plays an important and growing part in that success, working with exciting organizations like CCRM.”