Melbourne innovation set to revolutionise cell therapy industry

A world-leading Melbourne innovation is rapidly changing the way cell therapies are manufactured to treat diseases including stroke and cerebral palsy, taking these treatments out of the lab and into hospitals.

Stephen Willson, COO Scinogy and Dr Rebecca Lim  working on a world-leading Melbourne innovation which is changing the way cell therapies are manufactured to treat diseases.
Stephen Willson, COO Scinogy and Dr Rebecca Lim with the new cell-processing technology, ROTEA

The new cell-processing technology, ROTEA, developed by Melbourne start-up, Scinogy in conjunction with Hudson Institute of Medical Research, is significantly reducing the costs and labour associated with manufacturing cells for clinical use.

“This is game changer for the health and cell therapies sectors. The technology significantly reduces manufacturing costs, and our hope is that it means more patients can access the benefits of cell therapies,” said Scinogy CEO, David James.

Rather than requiring an expensive, purpose-built ‘clean room’ to create a controlled environment for manufacturing cell therapies, the ROTEA has compressed this technology down to a small self-contained machine that sits on any lab or clinic bench.

Dr Rebecca Lim is a leader in cell therapy research and Head of the Amnion Cell Biology Research Group at Hudson Institute. Her research into amnion cells from the human placenta is in several clinical trials. However, the high cost and labour-intensive manufacture could mean that only a small number of patients benefit from these therapies.

Scinogy’s invention reduces the time needed for cell manufacturing. This has a knock-on effect of reducing labour and material costs, possibly reducing the price of these cell therapies by as much as 90 per cent.

“Cell therapies have huge potential to treat many human diseases, from cancer to stroke. Reducing the cost, labour and manufacturing means more patients will potentially benefit from cell therapies sooner,” Dr Lim says.

Melbourne medical precinct leads innovation

ROTEA was born out of a partnership between industry and academia, and Scinogy is now based on-site at the Monash Health Translation Precinct (MHTP).

“Hudson Institute is a leader in stem cell research, and part of MHTP. It’s a unique health hub, providing access to a full research pipeline, from basic laboratory and preclinical research right through to clinical trials, on-site,” Mr James says.

“As a start-up, it was a natural progression. This is a dynamic precinct where research, industry and academia co-habitate, collaborate and foster innovation within the wider biomedical hub of Melbourne.”

What are cell therapies?

Cell therapies are an emerging medical treatment that uses living cells to treat a broad range of diseases. They aim to replace or regrow diseased or dysfunctional cells with healthy, functioning ones. Examples include whole blood transfusions, cancer immunotherapies and stem cell therapies.

The oldest form of cell therapy is bone marrow transplantation, where living blood stem cells are given to patients to treat cancer.

About Scinogy

Scinogy is a Melbourne engineering company dedicated to revolutionising the global cell therapy industry by making clinical results a commercial reality. Scinogy’s focus is on developing manufacturing systems that deliver high quality, affordable therapies.

Having worked as specialists in the cell therapy industry for nearly 15 years, the Scinogy team found themselves in a unique position to have a profound impact on one of the most exciting and rapidly growing fields of medicine.  Cell therapy companies are recognising that the manual strategies and technologies being used to develop cell therapies are not scalable, transferable or commercially viable. By working in close collaboration with scientists who are developing breakthrough therapies, Scinogy is creating technologies that are setting a new benchmark in cell therapy manufacturing.

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