New test bed launched to advance the regenerative medicine field

The RegeneratOR Test Bed has officially launched, bringing together resources to advance the regenerative medicine field nationally and create an economic development engine for the region and the state overall.

The announcement of the RegeneratOR Test Bed comes from two driving forces of the regenerative medicine field: the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO), a non-profit foundation headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, and dedicated to advancing the field nationwide, and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), the largest regenerative medicine institute in the world.

Leaders from science, business, health care and government, as well as from collaborating companies, attended the special launch event held today.

The RegeneratOR Test Bed, located in the Innovation Quarter which is an epicenter of highly innovative science and technology, will serve as an economic development driver, helping to accelerate the growth of start-ups and scale up mid-to-large-sized companies with innovative and emerging technologies. Access to state-of-the-art biomanufacturing equipment, industry expertise, and talent to support novel prototyping and commercial product development is available.

Many of these companies are dedicated to a broad range of technologies, such as 3D printing, and cell and tissue therapies. Additionally, there are also businesses supporting the field in areas such as the production of reagents and diagnostics. We believe this region has a lot to offer in terms of helping these companies be successful, and, at the same time, we can advance the regenerative medicine field nationally."

Anthony Atala, MD, Director, WFIRM

Strategic collaborations with a number of external partners, such as Oracle, BioSpherix, and PHC (formerly known as Panasonic Healthcare Corporation), that are bringing innovative technologies, made the launch of RegeneratOR Test Bed possible.

Oracle is bringing machine learning and data analytics into solving regenerative medicine manufacturing challenges. Biospherix is providing modular units for the manufacturing of clinical products, and PHC is providing best-in-class precision and digital solutions that range from tissue processing technologies to Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities for improving workflow efficiencies.

Steven Lynum, executive director of corporate development at PHC, who spoke at the event, said, "We are excited to partner in this RegeneratOR Test Bed and provide advanced technology support. The vision for what's possible with this endeavor aligns closely with our own mission and together we are going to help support companies in their efforts to accelerate therapies and health care solutions to improve people's lives."

"Regenerative medicine is a groundbreaking field that has the potential to transform how treatments are discovered, tested, and proven - dramatically cutting development times and getting needed therapies to patients faster," said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Global Business Units.

"We look forward to contributing the compute power of Oracle Cloud, along with expertise from our industry, labs, research, and startup teams to support the RegeneratOR's research and development environments which are underpinning this important collaboration and accelerating the future of medicine."

The RegeneratOR Test Bed is one of three focused areas that operate through ReMDO's RegeneratOR, a first of its kind in regenerative medicine to promote biomanufacturing scale-up and automation to make technologies more affordable, and speed up the translation to clinical practice. The other two focus areas are:

ReMDO's RegeneratOR Business Incubator - supports innovation from research to commercialization for regenerative medicine start-ups and growth companies by providing space and support, including market potential validation, benefit analysis, financial planning, budgeting, and comprehensive business plans.

ReMDO's RegeneratOR Workforce Development - a resource that connects an educational network of colleges, university programs and technical schools with biomanufacturing staff, engineers, and research leaders to train highly skilled biomanufacturing technicians and researchers to support the regenerative medicine field regionally and nationally.

The RegeneratOR is a key component of the established Regenerative Medicine Hub (RegenMed Hub), an ecosystem that brings together and draws upon the resources and talent available through the Innovation Quarter, and includes regenerative medicine focused entities dedicated to advancing the field nationwide.

A number of regenerative medicine start-ups and established companies already operate in RegenMed Hub and the region, offering expansive resources for entrepreneurs and life science professionals.

The RegeneratOR will foster and enable training programs that focus on the latest technologies coming out of the regenerative medicine field, and positions NC as the national leader and destination in health innovation. The recent joining of Wake Forest Baptist Health/School of Medicine with Atrium Health, creating one of the top five health systems in the nation, creates an epicenter of highly interactive science and technology which will attract major investments to the state.

"With a focus on the test bed, business incubator and workforce development, we believe we can heighten awareness of the regenerative medicine ecosystem and powerhouse that already exists here to bring in new companies, while at the same time help the field move forward," said Josh Hunsberger, PhD, ReMDO's Chief Technology Officer.

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