GE and CCRM Partner with DiscGenics on New Cell Therapy

GE Healthcare and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) will support scale-up efforts by DiscGenics for a new cell therapy intended to treat back pain.
May 30, 2018
By BioPharm International Editors

On May 30, 2018, GE Healthcare and the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) announced that they are partnering with DiscGenics, a regenerative medicine company focused on therapies for degenerative diseases of the spine, to support the company’s efforts to scale-up and optimize manufacturing of its allogenic, injectable cell therapy, IDCT. The therapy is being developed to treat degenerative disc disease (DDD).

Through the partnership, CCRM and GE Healthcare are working out of CCRM’s Toronto headquarters to conduct process, assay, and media development for DiscGenics’ manufacturing process. The manufacturing process starts with isolating cells from donated intervertebral disc tissue and ends with highly-specialized “Discogenic Cells” to address the complex environment of the degenerated disc. This approach enables DiscGenics to introduce restorative progenitor cells to the damaged disc and offers a therapeutic option for treating debilitating back pain.

CCRM and GE Healthcare are conducting the work through their partnership with the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in the Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies (CATCT). The center was established to accelerate the development and adoption of cell-manufacturing technologies that improve patient access to novel regenerative medicine-based therapies. The projects are executed at CCRM, in CATCT’s 10,000-square-foot development facility in the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto.

“We recently initiated a Phase I/II trial of IDCT in patients with DDD, and in preparation for commercialization, we are committed to optimizing our in-house manufacturing capabilities and ensuring our processes comply with cGMP regulations,” said Flagg Flanagan, CEO and chairman of the board of directors for DiscGenics, in a company press release. “The CCRM and GE Healthcare team is playing an integral role in these manufacturing initiatives by providing invaluable scale-up know-how and process development expertise, as well as allowing us to evaluate manufacturing equipment options.”

“The DiscGenics project is an excellent case study of CATCT’s ability to successfully accelerate scale-up and process development,” said Michael May, president and CEO, CCRM, the press release. “This is yet another example of how CCRM and GE Healthcare are fulfilling their mission of supporting cell and gene therapy by industrializing cell manufacturing and delivering results that help customers develop better treatments for patients.”

“Manufacturers need to be able to duplicate product attributes at larger scale as they progress through clinical trials and into commercial phases, so it’s critical to develop scaled up manufacturing processes early on,” said Phil Vanek, general manager of Cell and Gene Therapy Strategy at GE Healthcare Life Sciences, in the press release. “DiscGenics was an early adopter of the process development capabilities we’ve built together with CCRM, and we look forward to continued collaborations.”

Source: GE Healthcare

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