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Harvard, MIT, GE and Fujifilm partner on $50 million biomed center

by Thomas Dworetzky, Contributing Reporter | December 01, 2019
Business Affairs
A new Massachusetts-based consortium hopes to smooth the path for cutting-edge gene therapy and cancer immunotherapy from research lab to hospital clinic.

The newly announced center will include a board of directors from Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, GE Healthcare Life Sciences, Alexandria Real Estate Equities Inc., and have contributing members from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital, MilliporeSigma, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

"This is a momentous opportunity,” noted Martin Meeson, president and COO of Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, U.S. "Our participation as one of the founding members is to enable these very important therapies to be accessible to patients. We seek to bring very much needed expertise and capacity to the one of the leading biotechnology ecosystem in the world."

The $50 million Center for Advanced Biological Innovation and Manufacturing will be an independent nonprofit, and will get an official name within a year, according to a Harvard report.

“Biomedical science has reached a unique inflection point,” George Q. Daley, dean of Harvard Medical School stated, adding, “This collaboration will undoubtedly reshape the way we deliver on the promise of turning insights made in the lab into actionable cellular and gene therapies.”

The collaboration brings world-class expertise together and will doubtless advance these state-of-the-art therapeutic approaches. “This powerful collaboration embodies the deep and broad world-class expertise in multiple disciplines that exists across this region,” said Harvard University president Lawrence Bacow.

The goal of the collaboration is to speed “transformative therapies” to clinical applications by bringing together experts in the multiple disciplines to achieve such breakthroughs — especially by providing three critical services to those participating in the Massachusetts “life science ecosystem,” according to the Harvard report.

These include:

– Provide preferred access to a new manufacturing facility at favorable pricing, reducing wait time and costs thanks to pharmaceutical-grade manufacturing in about eight clean rooms used to make cell and vector products for phase 1 or phase 2 clinical trials.

– A shared innovation space for scientists from industry and academia to work together.

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