Goals & Means

The objective of CellSpace is to build an international platform dedicated to the research on tissue and organ construction by bioengineering and its industrial applications

 

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Bioengineering and Regenerative Medicine

One of the application fields of bioengineering centers on the tissues and organs of living organisms. Bioengineering then refers to the design of bio-artificial systems on the one hand and the creation of tissues and functional organs on the other. It paves the way for regenerative medicine and the repair or replacement of damaged organs while overcoming the constraints of organ donation and transplant rejection.

Bioengineering is interdisciplinary; it integrates the sciences of engineering and biology to medicine and clinical practice:

  • stem cell engineering,
  • development of matrices and scaffolds,
  • in silico modeling,
  • micropatterning and bioprinting,
  • development of bioreactors for the maturation of the reconstructed tissues and organs.

These innovative technologies are rapidly evolving. Their development requires bringing together researchers and engineers from biology and basic sciences (physics and chemistry).

 

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CellSpace: first step

Initially, CellSpace brought together physicians from the University Hospitals of Paris-Sud, researchers from Inserm and the Université Paris-Sud specialized in cell engineering and engineers from the University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC) and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Cachan (ENS Cachan).

Subsequently, researchers at the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA) specialized in micropatterning and bioprinting as well as companies engaged in regenerative medicine have joined the initial core of members. A laboratory of bioprinting will open on the grounds of the Paul-Brousse hospital (in Villejuif) in the fall of 2015. To avoid energies being dispersed, the initial activity will focus on a small number of tissues and organs: skin, trachea, esophagus and liver.

 

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 CellSpace: a platform of expertise

The main objective of CellSpace is to build a laboratory dedicated to the construction of tissues and organs, bringing together all the necessary technologies and open to academic as well as to industrial teams. The laboratory building will be erected on land provided by the Assistance Publique –Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) on the grounds of the Paul-Brousse Hospital in Villejuif. This 10 000m² building will house all the technologies used to build organs: cell culture, matrices and scaffolds, recellularisation, micropatterning and bioprinting, bioreactors, animal testing, prototyping. The estimated cost of the building together with its equipments is about 60 million of euros. This investment will be paid for by funds both private and public. The different investment options are currently being discussed with interested partners.

The management of the laboratory and research projects will be under the governance of CellSpace, its Board of Directors and its Executive Committee chaired by Professor Dominique Franco. Research projects will be validated by the Scientific Board chaired by Madame Cécile Legallais, a researcher of Compiègne Technology University (UTC). An international strategic committee will review the scientific and economic performance of CellSpace annually and give its opinions and advice (see “Governance“).

CellSpace is inserted into the scientific and economic development hub of Vallée Scientifique de la Bièvre and benefits from the amenities of Villejuif Bio Park and Campus Grand Parc. The development and construction of the CellSpace dedicated building will be coordinated with these actors and with other players involved in the economic development of the Val-de-Marne area as well as with the Val-de-Marne Development Agency and Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

 

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 CellSpace: an innovative business model

The economic model of CellSpace is based on the production and sale of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and on related patents.

Although it is still difficult to accurately assess the market for bioengineered ATMPs and the date of their marketing authorizations, international estimates suggest an annual turnover of 5 billion of euros. Ultimately, the ability to build livers, kidneys, lungs for transplantation leads to a major paradigm shift in organ transplantation and an even broader market. CellSpace will ensure the construction of these tissues and organs up to the prototyping stage.

The production stage – meeting with Good Manufacturing Practices – of products for clinical trials and human applications will be take place outside CellSpace. Public sector laboratories such as the cell therapy unit of the Saint-Louis Hospital (Prof. Larghero) coupled with the pharmaceutical unit of the Assistante Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (these two platforms were recently brought together in the iLite project) or corporate such as CellforCure already CellSpace member could be in charge of the GMP production.

Before placing tissues and organs on the market for clinical use, CellSpace will produce intermediates such as liver or skin organoids for predictive toxicology, specific products for research such as matrices, scaffolds or cells, as well as equipment such as bioprinters, bioreactors or 3D reconstruction and in vitro modeling softwares. The distribution of benefits among stakeholders within CellSpace will be in proportion to their involvement in the specific programs according to prior established agreements. If the return on investment for ATMPs is long term, for intermediates, it is short or medium term.