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1 Mar 2022

OPTI-STEM Consortium receives financial boost to democratise access to cell therapy in France and Europe

Public funding of more than €7 million will help the project to find a solution to prohibitive production costs of developing stem cell-based therapies

The OPTI-STEM Consortium — an R&D consortium led by CDMO Cell-Easy to — has obtained public funding of more than €7 million as part of the "Biotherapies and Bioproduction of Innovative Therapies" acceleration strategy, operated by Bpifrance on behalf of the French government.

The consortium's objective is to optimise the production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to democratise access to them and thus allow the diversification of therapeutic applications of this type of cells and their derivatives.

Developing innovative therapies based on MSCs is confronted with prohibitive production costs; for example, the current cost of a single dose of one of the few products currently on the market is €54,000.

This production paralysis ultimately limits patient accessibility and creates a stark choice: deny innovation to millions of patients or develop a multi-speed elitist therapeutic.

In response, the French government has stumped up €7 million to fund the OPTI-STEM project.

Along with an additional €800,000 from the Occitanie Region, the project proposes to transpose to the production of MSCs for therapeutic purposes the systems biology methodology that has been successfully applied to microbial bioproduction, while integrating new components of non-animal origin into the culture media.

Beyond the change of scale, management of the production parameters will also be improved due to the development of micro-sensors with "intelligent" monitoring.

With this financial support, the project hopes to produce MSCs in such quantities so as to reduce prices by a factor of 100 and reach a production capacity of more than 100,000 doses per year.

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