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CCRM Nordic AB to utilise 160 million SEK over 2 years to develop ATMP Innovation Cluster

Yesterday it was announced that CCRM Nordic AB would be the leader of an industry consortium to establish a Swedish Innovation Cluster within ATMP to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness in the field. Find the original press release in Swedish here and description of the purpose and function of the Innovation Cluster in English here.

The announcement awards 160 million Swedish crowns (14 million EUR) over 2 years to the consortia to develop the cluster to strengthen commercialization, competence development and production capacity for ATMP. Half of the funds come from the Swedish government and innovation agency Vinnova and half matched by industry. The goal to innovate healthcare with novel and more targetted treatments for patients in need while building a thriving life science industry from Swedish research and advanced manufacture capabilities.

The innovation cluster lead by CCRM Nordic includes AstraZeneca, CombiGene, Cytiva Sweden, Cytiva Testa Center, Getinge, GoCo Development, Takara Bio Europe, TATAA Biocenter, CCRM Toronto and Verigraft. The cluster will work with established ATMP networks, organisations and facilities in Sweden to create a vibrant and efficient network for the development of commercially suitable ATMPs across the country, expediting development of new ATMP companies, Swedish manufacture of ATMPs and entry of new medicines into clinical trials.

”We at CombiGene are so happy to be a part of the industry consortium that will work with the newly establish CCRM Nordic Hub to not only build ATMP development, manufacture and commercialisation capacity for Sweden, but for the Nordics. ATMP products are complex to develop and manufacture, but we believe addition of the global expertise of the CCRM network will bring great opportunities to Sweden and the Nordics”, says Karin Agerman (left), Chief Scientific Officer at CombiGene.

”As one of the three Innovation Hubs in the cluster, NorthX is keen to make sure a smooth and seemless collaboration will be secured between CCRM Nordic, Testa Center and our own competence centre within manufacturing and process development for advanced biologics. We believe that we have a good possibility here to do something complementary and in synergy, for the benefit of ATMP in the Nordics and to jointly promote this to an international audience. We are currently working together with Testa Centre to connect all infrastructures within this field in the Nordic region and look forward to bring CCRM Nordic into this collaboration”, says Helena Stridgård (middle), CEO of NorthX Biologics.

“Cell and gene therapies have the potential to transform the global healthcare landscape. Sweden has great capabilities within ATMP development and manufacture making it a great location for the CCRM Nordic and the innovation cluster. CCRM Nordic will help create the infrastructure needed to advance and accelerate the development of cell and gene therapies using GMP standards”, says Margareta Tennander (right), Technology operations leader Genomics medicine Cytiva and vice chair CAMP Governance board.

The Innovation Cluster draws inspiration from the Canadian Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) in Toronto, which has over a decade built a thriving ecosystem for development of ATMPs. The CCRM Nordic hub to be established in Mölndal, Sweden, neighbouring the AstraZeneca research facility, BioVentureHub and the GoCo Health Innovation City. “In the heart of an ecosystem including research, pharma, corporate ventures and incubators, the innovative environment in Mölndal creates the ideal setting for the headquarters of the Innovation Cluster and the CCRM Nordic Hub” says Johan Hyllner, Executive Director Cell Therapy, AstraZeneca.

Johan is also a Mölndal local, the founder of Cellartis moved to London in 2013 to work as CSO at the UK CGT Catapult, assisting the organization to grow from 12 to 170 people. ”The new CCRM Nordic Hub and Innovation Cluster is the result of efforts over almost a decade to coordinate, build and strengthen the Swedish ATMP industry. This commitment from the Swedish government has us primed to achieve our National vision of being a world leader in ATMP by 2030”, says Johan.

Michael May, CEO of the CCRM in Toronto notes “Sweden has an amazing ATMP ecosystem. The CCRM model is all about catalyzing coordination, driving capital efficiency and creating scale. CCRM looks forward to working with Swedish stakeholders to realize the benefits of a global network developing therapies that will transform medicine.”

The seed for a CCRM Nordic Hub was planted already in 2016 when a small group from the Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) were commissioned by Vinnova to investigate the prospects for a Swedish Centre for Cell Therapy. This lead to the publishing of the “Pilot Study of a Swedish Institute for Cell Therapy” late 2017, highlighting needs and challenges with a special focus on industrial perspectives. Michael May, from CCRM, Toronto, Canada, was an International Advisor on this report, along with Johan Hyllner, who was at the CGT Catapult. Authors on this report, Jukka Lausmaa and Jim Lund (pictured), have since spear headed ATMP industrial development in Sweden, following up with the Infrastructure report and Nordic ATMP landscape report, deliverables from the ATMP 2030 project, key to raising the interest and support from Vinnova and industry. March 2021, Vinnova awarded CCRM Nordic feasibility study that lead to registration of CCRM Nordic AB.

Though Jukka will still tell you ‘I am not a biologist’, the contributions of Jukka and Jim have not only been integral to the successes of CAMP, Swelife-ATMP, ATMP Sweden and the ATMP2030 innovation milieu, but now to generation of a CCRM Nordic hub and the ATMP Innovation Cluster. “We are so proud to see the cumulation of the Swedish National ATMP efforts formalizing into the National ATMP Innovation Cluster and to welcome a CCRM Node to Europe!”, says Jukka Lausmaa, Director of the Centre for Advanced Medical Products (CAMP).

The spade is expected to hit the ground in the near future and the building is expected to be finalized early 2026. The facility will have designated areas for process development and GMP certified cleanrooms for early clinical trial ATMP manufacture. However, the National and Nordic identity of CCRM Nordic and the Innovation Cluster begins now with CEO Fredrik Wessberg starting officially 1 June 2023 and a message from Jim Lund, “We’re so excited to get going on building the operational infrastructure of the Swedish National Innovation Cluster and to pair it with the International experience of the CCRM. It is time to work in a practical sense with our ecosystem consisting of the Swedish regions, established networks, facilities, researchers, developers, CROs and CMOs to build the best capacity for Sweden to accelerate new research, efficacious and cost effective medicines and cures to patients Nationally and Internationally.”

Hear more about the CCRM Nordic Node and the Innovation Catalyst at the Swedish National ATMP conference in Uppsala December 5th and 6th, 2023. ATMP Sweden 2023 Uppsala!

Visit the CCRM Nordic homepage here Vinnova supports the formation of a Nordic CCRM hub – CCRM Nordic