18 December 2013

Researcher wearing a clean room suit in the cell therapy manufacturing lab. The $59 million Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing will open its doors at the University of South Australia’s Mawson Lakes campus this week, marking the start of something big for biotechnology in the State.

Under one roof, the CRC will bring together the spectrum of skills and facilities required to turn a promising cell into a viable cell therapy.

University of South Australia Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says the CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing is exactly the kind of know-how and technological development South Australia needs to underpin future success and economic growth.

“This is top end research directed at solving significant health problems and the outcomes from the CRC will have markets worldwide,” Prof Lloyd says.

“The fact that the University of South Australia is the lead institution in this venture is proof positive that this state has the skills and capacity to lead research and development that is world class.”

Managing Director for the CRC, Dr Sherry Kothari says the Centre holds enormous promise for the state and the nation in leading research and development into new materials-based manufacturing to increase the affordability, accessibility and efficacy of the kinds of cell therapies vital to battling big health challenges such as diabetes.

“We are aiming to develop ways to deliver cell therapies for a range of previously incurable or intractable diseases and in the CRC we have top research and development partners,” Dr Kothari says.

Researchers working in a clean room. She says the CRC partners include hospitals, manufacturers, other research providers, industry and charities from Australia and around the world.

“The goal of what we are doing is to bring together the very latest in materials science, cell biology, bioprocess engineering and clinical practice to build advanced treatments to cure and treat diseases that can respond to cell therapies,” Dr Kothari says.

“These are the technologies that not so long ago were in the realm of science fiction and today they are tangible, achievable, and finding real traction here in SA.”

Dr Kothari says in a month that has seen great pessimism for South Australian industry, the opening of the CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing is not only a silver lining but also a model for what is possible through collaboration.

“Bringing together great minds, sound partnerships, a spirit of innovation and enterprise and the government support to make big things possible is a recipe for success,” she says.

“This is a $59 million project backed by $20 million from Government with the difference made up from cash and in-kind investment from industry and other partners and it is that investment partnership that gives us the opportunities to bring scientific innovation to life.

“The outcome will not only improve and save lives it will also build core expertise in biomedical manufacturing technologies in South Australia and make us a leader in one important aspect of future medicine.”

The CRC for Cell Therapy Manufacturing will be opened on Wednesday December 18 from 3.30 pm at the MM Building, Mawson Lakes campus, Mawson Lakes.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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