Background
Human Bone Marrow MSCs

NUI Galway has signed an agreement to formalise collaborative ties with the Mayo Clinic Centre for Regenerative Medicine in the US. The agreement follows many years of close cooperation, and paves the way for joint collaborations in clinical trials using regenerative therapies.

(You can check out REMEDI’s research in an upcoming episode of Series 3 of The Science Squad, due for broadcast this Autumn on RTE One)

Collaborative research projects will focus on a number of key strategic areas of importance for both institutes, including adult stem cell therapy, gene therapy, biomaterials and biomedical engineering. Furthermore, the agreement facilitates ongoing student and staff exchange between Galway and the US.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) puts the emphasis on regulatory science to facilitate global translation of regenerative medicine therapies to the clinic. Both the National University Ireland Galway and the Mayo Clinic Centre for Regenerative Medicine have GMP cell manufacturing facilities, licensed for use by the respective national medical authorities.

National University of Ireland Galway’s President, Dr Jim Browne, welcoming the signing of the MOU, said: “Formalising our longstanding links paves the way for advancing our common agenda which is to realize the potential of regenerative medicine. Here in Galway we have Ireland’s only facility licenced to produce stem cells for human use, while the new clinical and translational research facility for conducting clinical trials with patients will be complete in early 2015.”

NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) and the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB), both of which are supported by Science Foundation Ireland, are working together specifically to develop joint clinical trial programmes in the area of regenerative medicine.

Professor Tony Windebank, Deputy Director for Discovery of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic said: “Mayo Clinic and NUI Galway have an established track record and commitment to regenerative medicine over the last decade. The Mayo Clinic has prioritized the development of new regenerative medicine clinical applications as a critical strategy for meeting the needs of patients in the future, which was evidenced in the formation of our Centre for Regenerative Medicine in 2012.”

The signing of the MOU comes on top of the recent announcement of a new $16 million agreement between Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland where up to 20 novel medical technologies will be commercialised in Ireland over the next five years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies.

Video featuring Professor Tony Windebank, Deputy Director for Discovery of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B98ci3iAknE

mayo-clinic

“Our aim is to commercialise up to 20 U.S medical technologies and to create 10 spin-out companies in Ireland from collaboration with one of theworld’s leading medical institutions”  Enterprise Ireland

A collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, USA will see the commercialisation of up to 20 novel medical technologies in Ireland over the next 5 years with the aim of creating several high value medical technology spin-out companies.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D. witnessed the signing of the agreement by Jeff Bolton, Vice President Mayo Clinic and Dr. Keith O’Neill, Director Lifesciences Commercialisation, Enterprise Ireland in Dublin today (10th April 2014).

Welcoming the collaboration the Taoiseach said “this agreement between Mayo Clinic U.S and Enterprise Ireland is highly significant from an economic perspective and builds on an Irish connection with Mayo Clinic extending back to the 19th century when the founders of the Mayo Clinic, brothers Will and Charlie Mayo, attended the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland”.

“Ireland is delighted to support the work of Mayo Clinic to develop medical technologies that will benefit patients worldwide and this project fits well with the medical technology strategy supported by the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. There is great potential for job creation in 10 ‘spin-out’ companies Enterprise Ireland aims to create from this collaboration”.

The Irish Government will provide up to US$16M (€11.7M) through Enterprise Ireland’s Commercialisation Fund for the co-development and licensing of novel medical technologies developed at Mayo Clinic U.S. into Ireland where they will be commercialised. This will involve further development and validation of the technologies by research teams in Irish Higher Education Institutes, and introductions to investors to bring the technologies to market. Enterprise Ireland’s aim is to create 10 spin-out companies in addition to licensing/commercialisation relationships in Ireland for each medical technology.

The first project is under way in NUI Galway, internationally recognised for its expertise in Biomedical Science and Engineering. The device patented by the Mayo Clinic is for the treatment of acute pancreatitis. A team led by Dr Mark Bruzzi of NUI Galway aims to design and develop a prototype device for human clinical use, build on animal studies conducted thus far and advance the therapeutic technology towards a ‘first in man’ clinical investigation.
On the commercial side, NUI Galway will validate the market and reimbursement model for the device and support the exploitation of the commercial potential of the technology in Ireland.
Investors Aisling Capital, New York and ACT Venture Capital are currently advising the team at NUI, Galway on the establishment of a spin-out company around this technology.

Speaking at the announcement Jeff Bolton, VP Mayo Clinic said “Mayo is committed to improving medicine throughout the world for the benefit of patients everywhere. This collaboration with Enterprise Ireland provides a unique way of furthering the research and development of novel technologies that have high potential to make a difference in patient care, alleviating the burdens of human disease. We expect that this collaboration will pay dividends in the United States as the commercialized technologies will be sold in the US for the benefit of patients. We also expect that many of these companies will create a US presence in and around one or more of Mayo’s practice sites.

Welcoming today’s announcement, Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said “One of the key aims of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs is to put in place measures aimed at making it easier to commercialise and ultimately create jobs from ideas developed through publicly-funded research. Today’s announcement was made possible through State-funded research. This welcome agreement between the Mayo Clinic and Enterprise Ireland will further enhance Ireland’s reputation as a venue for commercialising advanced medical technologies with the aim of encouraging more high-value companies to establish in Ireland and creating high value jobs for this economy”.

Signing the agreement between Enterprise Ireland and Mayo Clinic, Dr. Keith O’Neill, Enterprise Ireland said, “this deal is a win-win as it will seed as many as 10 spin-out companies in Ireland whilst bringing advanced medical technologies to patients and providing a revenue stream back to Mayo Clinic to enhance its mission. We look forward to working with Mayo Clinic to create new companies around these world-class technologies some of which may, in time, establish a presence in Minnesota U.S, close to Mayo Clinic, benefiting the local economy there as well as in Ireland.”