Newswise — WINSTON-SALEM, NC, Monday, June 21, 2021 – The RegeneratOR Test Bed has officially launched, bringing together resources to advance the regenerative medicine field nationally and create an economic development engine for the region and the state overall.

The announcement of the RegeneratOR Test Bed comes from two driving forces of the regenerative medicine field: the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO), a non-profit foundation headquartered in Winston-Salem, NC, and dedicated to advancing the field nationwide, and the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), the largest regenerative medicine institute in the world. Leaders from science, business, health care and government, as well as from collaborating companies, attended the special launch event held today.

The RegeneratOR Test Bed, located in the Innovation Quarter which is an epicenter of highly innovative science and technology, will serve as an economic development driver, helping to accelerate the growth of start-ups and scale up mid-to-large-sized companies with innovative and emerging technologies. Access to state-of-the-art biomanufacturing equipment, industry expertise, and talent to support novel prototyping and commercial product development is available.

“Many of these companies are dedicated to a broad range of technologies, such as 3D printing, and cell and tissue therapies. Additionally, there are also businesses supporting the field in areas such as the production of reagents and diagnostics,” said Anthony Atala, MD, director of WFIRM. “We believe this region has a lot to offer in terms of helping these companies be successful, and, at the same time, we can advance the regenerative medicine field nationally.”

Strategic collaborations with a number of external partners, such as Oracle, BioSpherix, and PHC (formerly known as Panasonic Healthcare Corporation), that are bringing innovative technologies, made the launch of RegeneratOR Test Bed possible. Oracle is bringing machine learning and data analytics into solving regenerative medicine manufacturing challenges. Biospherix is providing modular units for the manufacturing of clinical products, and PHC is providing best-in-class precision and digital solutions that range from tissue processing technologies to Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities for improving workflow efficiencies.

Steven Lynum, executive director of corporate development at PHC, who spoke at the event, said, “We are excited to partner in this RegeneratOR Test Bed and provide advanced technology support. The vision for what’s possible with this endeavor aligns closely with our own mission and together we are going to help support companies in their efforts to accelerate therapies and health care solutions to improve people’s lives.”

“Regenerative medicine is a groundbreaking field that has the potential to transform how treatments are discovered, tested, and proven - dramatically cutting development times and getting needed therapies to patients faster,” said Mike Sicilia, executive vice president of Oracle Global Business Units. “We look forward to contributing the compute power of Oracle Cloud, along with expertise from our industry, labs, research, and startup teams to support the RegeneratOR’s research and development environments which are underpinning this important collaboration and accelerating the future of medicine.”

The RegeneratOR Test Bed is one of three focused areas that operate through ReMDO’s RegeneratOR, a first of its kind in regenerative medicine to promote biomanufacturing scale-up and automation to make technologies more affordable, and speed up the translation to clinical practice. The other two focus areas are:

  • ReMDO’s RegeneratOR Business Incubator  – supports innovation from research to commercialization for regenerative medicine start-ups and growth companies by providing space and support, including market potential validation, benefit analysis, financial planning, budgeting, and comprehensive business plans.
  • ReMDO’s RegeneratOR Workforce Development –  a resource that connects an educational network of colleges, university programs and technical schools with biomanufacturing staff, engineers, and research leaders to train highly skilled biomanufacturing technicians and researchers to support the regenerative medicine field regionally and nationally.

The RegeneratOR is a key component of the established Regenerative Medicine Hub (RegenMed Hub), an ecosystem that brings together and draws upon the resources and talent available through the Innovation Quarter, and includes regenerative medicine focused entities dedicated to advancing the field nationwide. A number of regenerative medicine start-ups and established companies already operate in RegenMed Hub and the region, offering expansive resources for entrepreneurs and life science professionals.

The RegeneratOR will foster and enable training programs that focus on the latest technologies coming out of the regenerative medicine field, and positions NC as the national leader and destination in health innovation.  The recent joining of Wake Forest Baptist Health/School of Medicine with Atrium Health, creating one of the top five health systems in the nation, creates an epicenter of highly interactive science and technology which will attract major investments to the state.

About the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine: The Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine is recognized as an international leader in translating scientific discovery into clinical therapies, with many world firsts, including the development and implantation of the first engineered organ in a patient. Over 400 people at the institute, the largest in the world, work on more than 40 different tissues and organs. A number of the basic principles of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine were first developed at the institute. WFIRM researchers have successfully engineered replacement tissues and organs in all four categories – flat structures, tubular tissues, hollow organs and solid organs – and 15 different applications of technologies, such as skin, urethras, cartilage, bladders, muscle, kidney, and vaginal organs, have been successfully used in human patients. The institute, which is part of Wake Forest School of Medicine, is located in the Innovation Quarter in downtown Winston-Salem, NC, and is driven by the urgent needs of patients. The institute is making a global difference in regenerative medicine through collaborations with over 400 entities and institutions worldwide, through its government, academic and industry partnerships, its start-up entities, and through major initiatives in breakthrough technologies, such as tissue engineering, cell therapies, diagnostics, drug discovery, biomanufacturing, nanotechnology, gene editing and 3D printing. 

About the RegenMed Development Organization: The mission of the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO) is to accelerate the discovery and translation of regenerative medicine therapies. ReMDO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that manages a clinical translation initiative that includes thought leaders, representatives from leading US research centers, government representatives, and companies of all sizes. ReMDO conducts research to de-risk technologies and speed up the translation of regenerative medicine to clinical practice and to the global market. ReMDO manages the world’s first and only professional organization dedicated solely to advancing the regenerative medicine field, the Regenerative Medicine Manufacturing Society (RMMS), and the Regenerative Medicine Manufacturing Innovation Consortium (RegMIC), which manages a private-public partnership of industry and academic members focused on scaling up technologies.

About the Innovation Quarter: Innovation Quarter (www.innovationquarter.com), home to iQ Labs, is a vibrant, mixed-use innovation district located in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Anchored by Wake Forest School of Medicine, Innovation Quarter is home to a community of more than 3,700 workers in 90 companies and four other institutions of higher learning where almost 1,800 degree-seeking students come to learn every day. In addition to more than 1,100 residential units, the Innovation Quarter also features a dynamic urban park, publicly accessible greenway and free community events that make this a true “Live.Work.Learn.Play” community.