REMEDI NUI Galway, Cellix and TCD Launch Innovation in Cell and Gene Therapy

Dec 18 2020 Posted: 16:17 GMT

New and pioneering GTCASP technology advancing the next generation treatments for cancers, disorders and disease

A new collaborative research project has been launched at NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) to streamline cell manufacturing for the next-generation of treatments of cancers, autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases.

Cellix Ltd is partnering with REMEDI, NUI Galway’s a state-of-the-art research and cell manufacturing facility, and Trinity College Dublin thanks to €3.4 million funding from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) and the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation to spearhead the project.

The aim is to advance the development of next-generation cell therapies by making it easier to select specific cells which have been genetically modified to make them more effective in treating a particular disease or disorder.

Frank Barry, Professor of Cell Therapy at NUI Galway, said: “In the cell and gene therapy sector, manufacturing the product is a complex, challenging and expensive process.  

“We are progressing new, ground-breaking treatments in a way that is more cost-effective and accessible. The research that we are pioneering in NUI Galway’s REMEDI will have a significant impact and will bring these new treatments closer to realisation in a dramatic and effective fashion.”

The new technology being researched and pioneered at NUI Galway’s REMEDI, as part of the collaborative project, is the Gene Transfection Cell Analysis and Sorting Platform - GTCASP.

Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English T.D., said:“GTCASP is an exciting project focusing on the development of a truly innovative technology, addressing the challenges in cell manufacturing for gene therapy. This is an exciting and far-reaching project which reflects what the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is designed to encourage and assist.

“The project’s ambition is that the technology becomes a standard in the field of cell therapy and forms part of the redevelopment of Ireland’s biopharmaceutical manufacturing industry, as gene therapy forges new markets for personalised medicine. It also truly demonstrates the talent that is incumbent in Ireland for the sector.

“I congratulate Cellix and their project partners in NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin for driving this innovation, which will showcase Ireland as a leader in cell and gene therapies.”

How does GTCASP work?

:: The GTCASP technology takes advantage of the electrical properties of cells to separate individual populations.

:: Scientists are using GTCASP to separate cells that have been genetically modified to make them effective in treating a variety of serious disorders. 

:: Specialists who are manufacturing cell therapies gain a profound advantage in this process as the cell populations with preferred characteristics are selected and other, less effecitve  cells, are discarded.

:: GTCASP essentially provides manufacturers with the technology to select and use the preferred cells to target disease conditions.

:: It will also lead to a reduction in manufacturing costs of cell therapy medicinal products, which at present is prohibitively high.

Professor Timothy O’Brien, Dean of NUI Galway’s College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, said: “Designed to facilitate the development of new treatments such as CAR T cell therapies, the GTCASP system will allow wider access to the next generation of genetic cell therapies for cancer and other conditions. In addition, new and advanced forms of stem cell therapy will come closer to reality. These therapies are regarded as a new revolution in medicine and one which will make a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families.”

The collaborative project involving Cellix, REMEDI at NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin was launched in partnership with Government and Enterprise Ireland.

Stephen Creaner, Executive Director of Enterprise Ireland said: “Cellix, in partnership with NUI Galway and Trinity College Dublin, have joined forces to establish a ground-breaking and innovative platform to improve and enhance the process of cell manufacturing, with the potential to transform how people across the globe work and live. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is aimed at supporting that transformative work and helping Irish companies realise their ambitions. Funding collaborative projects like the GTCASP is a clear signal of our desire to future proof Ireland to ensure that our indigenous enterprises become leaders in the face of disruptive technologies. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to continuing to work with Cellix and the team and is proud to be part of this ground breaking, disruptive project.”


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