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Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

$30 million for 2011-23
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Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine

Toronto, Ontario

President and CEO
Michael May Michael May

Chief Scientific Officer
Peter Zandstra Peter Zandstra

Board chair
Michael Nobrega Michael Nobrega

Turning the promise of regenerative medicine into reality

Regenerative medicine (RM)-based therapies hold enormous potential to repair, regenerate or replace diseased cells, tissues and organs. But many of these potentially life-changing treatments never reach patients because they are not successfully moved from the lab to the clinic. Fortunately, Canada is a global hotbed for stem cell research and bioengineering, and a leader in cell manufacturing. The Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) was founded to bridge the gap between academia and industry, and enable promising technologies to reach the market. Its mission has evolved to be the preferred global destination for the best people, technologies, clinical trials, companies and investments in RM, and a premier global enabler of clinically-tested revolutionary new medical therapies and foundational technologies in RM.

CCRM overcomes two major bottlenecks in RM commercialization: a dearth of early stage capital and access to centralized research infrastructure. CCRM provides small- and medium-sized enterprises, large multinationals and emerging biotechnology companies with a single entry point for accessing Canada-wide RM expertise and infrastructure. CCRM’s industry network includes around 100 Canadian and international RM companies that can access a fully-resourced, 40,000 ft˛ (~4,000 m˛) facility in the MaRS Centre in Toronto that houses a large, fully-equipped containment level 2 (CL2) laboratory, and a stand-alone 14,000 ft˛ (~1,300 m˛) good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility, to be operational in 2018.

CCRM is capitalizing on its extensive pipeline of intellectual property to bundle promising technologies into 10 new companies that are strategic and leverage expertise, funding and excellent science.

Among the results

  • CCRM works closely with other CECRs and federally-funded networks on knowledge translation, training for highly qualified personnel and other programs and projects to benefit Canadians and leverage funding. Some examples include co-hosting scientific conferences and training workshops, producing white papers and recommendation guidelines, launching a new training institute (CATTI) with CellCAN, and public outreach initiatives.
  • CCRM, in partnership with University Health Network, has built a 20,000 ft2 (~1,900 m˛) state-of-the-art good manufacturing practices (GMP) facility that supports academic and private sector partners, and meets government regulatory requirements for manufacturing cells for clinical use.
  • CCRM has 12 companies in its portfolio. ExCellThera is a spin-off (established in partnership with the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer – Commercialization of Research) and the others have been supported financially and/or through foundational science. Notch Therapeuticsis the first to go end-to-end through CCRM’s incubation program. Its US$85 million Series A financing round was one of the largest in the history of Canadian biotech.
  • CCRM realized its first exit from an early-stage investment, achieving a key milestone in its mission to reach sustainability and re-invest the fruits of success back into the ecosystem. AVROBIO, a gene therapy company, has executed a successful initial public offering on the NASDAQ (2018).
  • With a loan from the Government of Ontario and private investment, CCRM’s newest subsidiary, OmniaBio Inc., has begun construction of the first of two buildings where it will produce the materials required for Phase III and commercial-scale manufacturing of cell and gene therapies. Once complete, it will be the largest manufacturing facility for cell and gene therapies in Canada.
  • With funding from Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, CCRM built a centre for advanced manufacturing in Toronto (2016). The Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies is providing cell therapy companies with the expertise to optimize manufacturing processes to produce the significant numbers of cells required for clinical and commercial use.
  • In December 2021, CCRM launched CCRM Enterprises Inc., its for-profit venture investment arm. CCRM Enterprises invests in early-stage ventures and projects developing therapeutics and enabling technologies. Through an extensive network of investors, it brings together risk capital to support these early-stage ventures as they scale up along the development pathway to enable the growth of an advanced therapies ecosystem.

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