Signals Blog

The health-care landscape is changing: the previous model of the blockbuster pharmaceutical is being challenged by new therapies that have the potential to offer more effective treatments. In this new contribution to Signals Blog, I describe the present landscape for regenerative medicine commercialization.

The current health-care system is being pushed to the brink. Driven by an aging population with a growing health-care burden, combined with the snowballing cost of treatment, both public and private payers are feeling the strain – ultimately resulting in unsatisfactory standards of patient care worldwide. But there is hope.

Over time, revolutionary regenerative therapies could signal the beginning of a new era in medicine: from the long-term management of diseases to their ultimate cure. Some of the results seen so far by research groups both in the lab and the clinic have been astonishing (see two of my favourite stories here and here), completely transforming patient outcomes for several illnesses, including some that were previously considered untreatable.

Added to that are the advances in the use of cells as screening tools, which offer the potential to repurpose existing compounds for novel indications – increasing the quality of patient care with minimal R&D costs. So why, despite obvious advantages, have so few regenerative medicines reached the masses? And of the ones that have, why aren’t they having the wild success that was once anticipated?

In reality there are many reasons for this, not least of which is the youthfulness of the industry. Right now we’re forging the path to market, and learning more with each new therapy that progresses. However, as the industry grows, the need for robust commercialization strategies will become more and more evident.

In regular contributions to this blog, I will discuss the latest news in regenerative medicine, considering the commercial implications for both individual companies and the industry as a whole, including the impact on basic scientists. In addition, I will evaluate current opportunities and challenges to industry development, looking at each stage of the translational spectrum between bench and bedside. Finally, I’ll be reporting on key stakeholder events and offering my opinion on industry progress.

The commercialization of regenerative therapies presents a completely new challenge to academics, engineers, regulators, health-care payers and investors; and, most importantly, an immense opportunity for patients worldwide. By working together now to anticipate future problems and find cohesive solutions, we’re already building the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the translation of this extraordinary technology.

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Natasha Davie

Natasha Davie is part of the Centre for Accelerating Medical Innovations at Oxford University, where she is pursuing a doctorate in Clinical Laboratory Sciences. She has been involved in regenerative medicine since 2002, when she worked with the London Regenerative Medicine Network on numerous projects analysing cell therapy translation, and gaining expertise in clinical trials, regulation, manufacture and commercialization. She completed her Masters in Biochemical Engineering at University College London in conjunction with the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Harvard Medical School. Follow Natasha on Twitter @natashadavie