Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"Help me to help you" NIH program director Rosemarie Hunziker tells Cell Therapy attendees

Rosemarie Hunziker
By Brian Caine

NIH program director Rosemarie Hunziker told attendees at Cell Therapy Bioprocessing & Commercialization 2015 that there is a “ton of grant money looking into new therapies”.

She said that companies must be able to articulate and document the product development life cycle in order to access these funds and that different agencies looked at different criteria.

“The grant that works for one agency doesn’t work for another,” she said “We all have different cultures."

Hunziker also stressed that manufacturing platforms “must evolve”. “While discovery is critical if you don't move it into commercialization it will stay in a lab forever," she told delegates in her session called “Show me the money”.

“While discovery is critical if you don't move it into commercialization it will stay in a lab forever" - Rosemarie Hunziker, NIH

In many cases “the financials to produce enough cells cannot be supported economically,” she said “Platforms must become more efficient if cell therapies are going to treat a broad patient-base.”

The industry as a whole agreed that there needs to be an evolution towards therapeutics. “The challenges are quite significant," she said. Overcoming these will allow a shift from "boutique treatments to ones deliverable in a clinic".

The NIH has invested more than US$3bn in the past three years, mainly in research Hunziker said. However, she added that the NIH was moving towards “promoting sciences and engineering grants looking at the key manufacturing roadblocks.”

“Help me to help you,” she said. "When you put the right money in the right place you can have some pretty profound impact"

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