Several specialized and capital-intensive steps must be taken on the road to transforming concepts into patient applications. This often forms a stumbling block for innovative biotechnology companies. Stem cell company Neuroplast and Chemelot InSciTe have entered a partnership to acquire the necessary permits and approvals for creating a so-called matrix GMP facility. The goal of this facility is to share knowledge, expertise, and infrastructures. This facility, unique in both the Netherlands and further afield, will allow for the further specialization and the necessary validation of InSciTe’s biomedical facility. This matrix will help academic concepts and small businesses accelerate the transition from laboratory to patient.
A simple concept with far-reaching consequences
Knowledge and expertise are often shared during biomedical research and development in order to expand on ideas and test them in a laboratory setting. Sometimes a start-up is launched to validate a medical product for patients. If successful, the product is then marketed.
But product marketing is not the core activity of academic institutions and because young biotech companies often struggle to obtain the necessary capital, many good concepts and companies fail before the effectiveness of the medical innovation can be validated for patients. Sharing the fundamental yet specialized process components necessary for all developments can reduce costs dramatically, making it possible for virtually any concept developed by research institutes or companies to reach patients.
Matrix GMP facility: shared investments with individual identities
Matrix good manufacturing practice (GMP) facilities combine basic components such as infrastructure, quality systems, and staff. Its construction is similar to that of a Lego house: the blocks are selected depending on the needs, be it a cleanroom, a diagnostics lab, quality protocols, specialized staff, or goods ordering and delivery. These components are only needed temporarily or can be shared with others. Ultimately, companies are only required to take on the identity-shaping part of the biomedical product or process.
On the Brightlands Health Campus in Maastricht, the Limburg stem cell company Neuroplast has proven this concept and is on the verge of offering stem cell therapy to patients with paraplegia. The biomedical programme offered by the Chemelot Institute for Science & Technology (InSciTe) focuses on forms of collaboration that translate proven concepts into biomedical innovations that can be validated by patients. The Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen offers InSciTe the necessary infrastructure and is expanding on this with new quality systems, training programmes, and staff, depending on the parties’ needs. By joining forces, InSciTe and Neuroplast hope to validate this type of stem cell therapy within a year and thereby prove the feasibility of this matrix facility. In addition to helping young biotech entrepreneurs achieve their dreams, the matrix facility will also help stimulate regional growth.
Daniëlle Curfs – Biomedical Programme Manager, Chemelot InSciTe:
‘The first step was to set up our biomedical facility. We are now on the verge of creating a unique concept based on further expansion and specialization: a matrix GMP facility. A facility like this is in high demand, but we can only achieve our goal by collaborating effectively with all involved parties. We’re proud of the partnership with Neuroplast, which endorses InSciTe Biomedical’s mission of building sustainable ties between parties to bridge the gap between innovation and patient.’
Johannes de Munter – CEO Neuroplast:
‘The ambitious objectives set by Neuroplast and InSciTe are based on simplicity. Neuroplast focuses on the product and production process and InSciTe focuses on its facilities. Both are exploring uncharted territory in this unique approach. This calls for perseverance and trust to achieve our ambitions and to make a real difference for patients.’
Twan Beurskens – Member of the Provincial Executive for Economy and Knowledge Infrastructure for the Province of Limburg:
‘It’s great to see that the partnership between Neuroplast and InSciTe is capitalizing on the added value of a united Brightlands campus with multiple locations. The key to accelerating innovation and successful knowledge valorization ultimately rests in building on each other’s strengths.’