A new public-private partnership for developing and manufacturing stem cell therapies has been formed by a consortium of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and Paragon Bioservices, Inc.
Paragon is a contract research and GMP manufacturing organization, with headquarters at the University of Maryland BioPark.
"The main objective of the consortium is to accelerate the development of novel strategies for regenerative medicine, including new treatments and preventatives derived from stem cell research," says Curt I. Civin, MD, director of the University of Maryland's Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Civin is a professor and associate dean of research at the University's School of Medicine, and an internationally renowned physician-scientist who has made significant contributions in the field of blood-forming stem cell transplantation.
The Center will work with Paragon to establish a core facility to offer stem cell services on a fee-for-service basis. The services offered include cell banking and production of a variety of stem cell types. Stem cells will be available for research purposes and, eventually, for clinical use.
The consortium is being funded in part by a "Translational Research Award" from the Maryland Biotechnology Center (MBC). According to Judy Britz, The MBC's executive director, "The Maryland Biotechnology Center evaluated 60 different proposals and the consortium effectively competed for its award since it is dedicated to crossing the translational medicine divide, creates a model for sustainability, and increases the likelihood of commercialization of new technologies."
According to Marco Chacon, PhD, Paragon's president & CEO, "It is an honor to work with Dr Civin, as well as a privilege to play a minute role in the development of interesting technologies that could have a positive impact on public health and the economic development of our community."
The partnership also includes Life Technologies, Inc. (LTI), a global biotechnology company based in Carlsbad, Calif., which is a provider of scientific products and reagents. LTI already provides innovative solutions for scientists engaging in stem cell research. As part of their corporate commitment to global social responsibility, the company will be providing training opportunities for research scientists.
As a partnership for better public health, the consortium is openly seeking wider participation from other research institutions, state and federal agencies, and private companies.