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Newsletter April 2020

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MESSAGE FROM THE CELLCAN TEAM

This period of uncertainty is undoubtedly stressful for everyone, but it takes an extra toll on people living alone. Make sure you take the time to call your loved ones regularly to see how they are. CellCAN would also like to acknowledge the incredible work of all the frontline workers, health professionals and employees of essential services. You do an amazing job and we feel safe because of you! To all the researchers, engineers and manufacturers, your talent, imagination and innovation skills are an inspiration to all of us. Keep up the essential work you are doing in helping with this unprecedented crisis!

From all of us at CellCAN: THANK YOU

This is the April 2020 edition of CellCAN's newsletter.

 

WELCOME CHRISTINA

We want to wish Christina Aon a warm welcome to the CellCAN team as our new Chief Business and Learning Officer.

Christina Aon comes to us with over 20 years in the pharmaceutical industry, with experience working in Vaccine  Manufacturing, Operational Excellence, Corporate Learning and Development, Business Development and Marketing which will be very beneficial. She also has extensive experience in GMP/GLP in both the pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry, in manufacturing process improvement, technical transfer and competency building. 

Christina obtained her Bachelors of Science in Dietetics and Human Nutrition from McGill University (Canada) and her International EMBA from the Louvain School of Management, Université Catholique de Louvain (Belgium).

 

FAREWELL MARIE-EVE

With CellCAN almost since its inception in 2014, Marie-Eve Desormeaux was instrumental in putting together our administrative and governance structure. She then demonstrated her project management skills by coordinating the logistics of the first two editions of CellCAN's Strategic Forum.

She also initiated CellCAN's Newsletter and made sure that our social media accounts were lively and current. Last February, she decided that it was time to move on to new challenges in a different organization, where she could go back to her roots of metrics and performance evaluation. We were sad to see her leave, but wish her all the best in her new role. 

2019-2020 WEBINAR SERIES & YOUTUBE CHANNEL

CellCAN has been hosting a series of lunchtime webinars this fall and winter on all things GMP manufacturing, clinical trials and regulatory standards. Due to the current situation, CellCAN webinars are taking a short recess, but should be back soon. We will keep you posted! 

In the meantime, you can watch all of our previous webinars which are posted on our website

You can also discover all that our YouTube Channel has to offer:

CellCAN's YouTube Channel

SAVE THE DATE!

Following the success of the first two editions, CellCAN is proud to announce the third edition of the Cell and Gene Therapy Revolution Strategic Forum.

When? 2022

Where? Westin Hotel, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Sponsorship opportunities are available! To get more information, please contact Vanessa Laflamme.

More information will follow shortly!

 A NEW TRAINING INSTITUTE 

We are tremendously pleased to announce the initialization of the CellCAN Advanced Training Institute for GMP Cell & Gene Therapy (CGT) Manufacturing. The national Training Institute will address an unmet need by creating a work-ready staff force of highly qualified personnel that are certified under good manufacturing practices (GMP_ for the advanced production of CGT. 

Development of the curriculum is underway and will be spearheaded under the expert guidance of the newly created Education Committee, composed of CGT manufacturing experts in Canada and global industry leaders. We are looking forward to announcing further innovative roll-out phases of the Advanced Training Institute. Never has a focus on talent development and re-training efforts been more critical than in the face of the current pandemic.

For more information: Craig Hasilo

CONGRATULATIONS DR. VISWANATHAN 

CellCAN would like to congratulate Dr. Sowmya Viswanathan as she is elected to the Board of Directors of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) as Elected Member PhD. Please follow the link for more details.

In addition to being on the Organizing Committee for the ISCT Paris Virtual Conference, Sowmya will be chairing one of the plenary session. Don't miss it! 

Mesenchymal Stromal Cell - Full Circle from Basic Research Insights to Clinical Trial Updates (check out the program to find the schedule that corresponds to your timezone)


SUPPLY CHAIN & LOGISTICS FOR CELL & GENE THERAPIES - MASTERING THE 100-METRE DASH

Participants gathered in person at CCRM and virtually through our webinar for a morning of eye-opening talks on the logistics of cell and gene therapies. You can still watch the recording using this link. Speakers with backgrounds in both shipping therapeutics and treating patients gave insight into the complications that can occur during transportation.

We would especially like to pay our respects to Simon Ellison, who gave his time to sharing his expert knowledge in the field, and has since passed away. Simon, you will be missed.

 

BEST PRACTICES FOR THERAPEUTIC TRANSLATION: OPTIMIZING PRE-CLINICAL RESEARCH RIGOR AND REPRODUCIBILITY

Stem Cell Network and BioCanRx, in partnership with CellCAN, OIRM and ThéCell, hosted academic investigators, trainees, and technicians for a 2-day workshop to learn how to ease the transition from academic to clinical research.

Participants left with concrete steps to take to optimize their labwork. Speakers facilitated many engaging discussions on topics from proper note keeping to selection of sample size. Improving research reproducibility through workshops like these will make funding dollars go further and accelerate the development of critical therapies.

 NEW JERSEY INNOVATION INSTITUTE (NJII)

This winter, the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and NJII hosted a Talent Development Ideation Meeting in Newark, NJ. This meeting addressed the dearth in skilled Highly Qualified Personnel for cell and gene therapy manufacturing. Experts including Peter Marks, director of CBER at the FDA, came together to discuss this issue in detail. 

Conversations centered around a few common threads:

- how to rapidly scale up training efforts,

- what the ideal training program should look like,

- and what skills are in the greatest demand.

Attendees debated which existing programs are most effective, and what new skills should be incorporated for greater impact. CellCAN was featured as one of the few organizations with an existing robust GMP training offer. Our focus on developing a nation-wide, standardized curriculum resonated throughout the meeting, and we look forward to seeing the field evolve.


CELL THERAPY STAKEHOLDER GROUP (CTSG) UPDATE

With the current COVID-19 situation, the CTSG meeting has again been postponed to a later date. In the meanwhile, Sowmya Viswanathan, co-chair of the CTSG, represented the group at a virtual meeting held by Health Canada (HC) who shared information on recent efforts to address the COVID-19 crisis, including the latest regulatory and legislative actions. Other groups invited were Biosimilars Canada, the Canadian Association of Nuclear Medicine – Canadian Association of Radiopharmaceutical Scientists (CANM-CARS), the Canadian Biosimilars Forum (CBF) and the Nuclear Medicine Alliance (NMA). CellCAN will soon post a summary of this information on our website. Stay tuned! 

Health Canada has also created a new webpage for the health product industry to help guide businesses about requirements, supports and key points of contact for COVID-19-related health products. The information is based specifically on the large volume of questions Health Canada has been receiving from businesses. The website will continuously be updated with resources.

In preparation for the next official CTSG meeting, we welcome and encourage all members of the CGT ecosystem to submit their questions and concerns to the CTSG. The group usually meets twice a year and adresses concerns from the community. If you would like to suggest an agenda item, please fill out this short form. A representative will contact you. 

 

NATIONAL FEATURE IN HEALTH INSIGHT & MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE

The hype around stem cell therapies is higher than ever, but not everything using that name is legitimate! In this piece, CellCAN provides the Canadian public key questions to ask when offered the opportunity to access a stem cell based treatment. Read it here!

EVENT ATTENDANCE FOR SPRING 2020

CellCAN team members will be present at the following event this spring. If you would like to organize a meeting with us to explore new ways to collaborate, let us know, we would love to chat!

 > May 28-29, 2020 --> CellCAN will be part of the Canadian Pavilion, which will occupy two virtual booths.

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