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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $20 million in federal funding Wednesday to establish and operate a cell therapy development facility in the MaRS Discovery District in downtown Toronto.
The Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Cell Technologies, to be established and operated by the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), is billed as the first cell therapy development facility in the world to use a collaborative approach between research institutions, including UHN and the University of Toronto, and industry to solve cell therapy manufacturing challenges.
"Regenerative medicine is the future," the Prime Minister told an audience of researchers, healthcare executives and businesspeople at MaRS. "And, not only is it the future, it's a branch of medicine that Canada, and the Province of Ontario, are actually quite good at.
"The medical advances and innovations happening right here in Toronto are world class."
UHN is a founding institutional member of CCRM along with the U of T, the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, McMaster University, Mount Sinai Hospital's Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
Ontario a global hub
With a contribution from GE Healthcare taking the investment to $40 million, the new centre "will accelerate the development and adoption of cell manufacturing technologies," the Prime Minister said.
"The new world-class facility will generate good jobs, strengthen Canada's knowledge economy and position Ontario as a global hub for cell therapy," he said, noting that by 2025 the global market for cell-based therapies is expected to surpass the $20-billion mark.
Michael May, the President and CEO of the CCRM, called the announcement "wonderful news," adding the new facility will also help the cell therapy industry "overcome critical manufacturing bottlenecks.
"Most importantly, the outputs of this centre will enable access to revolutionary medical treatments for patients around the world," he said.