Immunotherapy is the new force in medicine, and Australia’s Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics is at the global forefront of this life-saving field.
The cellular immunotherapy manufacturing facility at QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane is delivering therapies to patients in Australia and globally.
Established in 2000 to support clinical translation and discoveries by the institute’s researchers, the facility now manufactures for academic and biopharmaceutical partners nationally and internationally.
Cellular immunotherapy takes immune cells from a patient or donor, activates or reprogrammes them to recognise and fight disease, then re-infuses the cells into a patient’s bloodstream.
QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said Q-Gen had been instrumental in producing adoptive cellular immunotherapies that were currently in four separate clinical trials for brain cancer, head and neck cancer, multiple sclerosis, and viral infections in transplant recipients.
“We needed to establish Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics so our researchers could progress clinical trials of novel immunotherapies developed through QIMR Berghofer’s advanced research programmes,” Professor Gannon said.
“It was ahead of its time when it was established, and now, with booming interest in cellular immunotherapies and personalised treatments, Q-Gen is perfectly placed to address the demand for cell manufacturing.”
In recent years, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of multiple cellular immunotherapies for various blood cancers, and other diseases, opening the door for their use in broader clinical settings.
Q-Gen set to lead rapid access cell-therapy manufacturing
QIMR Berghofer’s immunologist, Professor Rajiv Khanna, a world leader in the field, and major player in establishing Q-Gen Cell Therapeutics, explained that it is accredited by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration as a GMP facility. This approval allows it to produce cellular immunotherapies for patients in Australia, Hong Kong and the United States, with European patients to gain access soon.
“Q-Gen develops therapies directed against viral complications that either cause or play a role in diseases and infections. Our work shows the real potential of these approaches,” Professor Khanna said. “There are a lot of synergies between Q-Gen and our institute’s research, which have allowed us to accelerate the clinical development of these new treatments.
Q-Gen is well placed to do so for other industries and researchers, and will have a particularly important role in Southeast Asia and India.”