Last week was the 4th Annual IBC Cell Therapy Bioprocessing Conference. IBC (home of the BioProcess International conference) was the first conference organizer to dedicate a focused meeting on Cell Therapy Manufacturing Technologies 4 years ago. Since the first conference in 2011, the growth in the field, and the conference, has been amazing. The attendance has grown from less than 90 in year 1 to over 200 this year. The content has also evolved heavily over the last 4 years, demonstrating a high level of sophistication and maturity in a field that seems “early stage” to those looking in from the outside. The talks this year increased in the amount and quality of data presented. Topics included the impact of automation on the simplification, streamlining, and cost reduction of autologous therapies, the use of Quality by Design (QbD) in bioreactor scale-up and analytical development, advances in tissue engineering and biofabrication techniques, and even 2 year data on marketed products. Phil Vanek, the General Manager of GE Healthcare’s Cell Therapy business, summed it up during his talk where he stated that: GE is interested in 1) big problems, 2) compelling clinical data, and 3) opportunities for “industrialization”, and “Cell Therapy/Regenerative Medicine has all three”.
|Various cell manufacturing and processing devices seen throughout the exhibits at IBC's |
4th Annual Cell Therapy BioProcessing Conference - No BioPrinters (yet!)
There are many signs that the Cell Therapy field is moving much faster than the protein therapeutics field before it and demonstrating rapid progress. What we have here is a traditional case of “standing on the shoulders of giants”, which has been paraphrased on Wikipedia as "discovering truth by building on previous discoveries”.