Enabling late-stage translation of regenerative medicine based products
thesisposted on 01.04.2010 by Pawanbir Singh
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
The primary aim of the thesis is to contribute to demonstrating how established and emerging science in the regenerative medicine (RM) domain can be translated into profitable commercial practice, and generate clinically- and cost-effective therapies. It achieves this by exploring and assessing underlying economics, including investment readiness and economic assessment, exploring regulatory and reimbursement frameworks, developing stem cell culture systems and assessing fit with clinical practice. The thesis is the first public domain wide-ranging analysis of business trends in the production, manufacturing and supply segments of the RM industry. It analyses the clinical potential of the domain as well as the translational and commercial challenges facing the industry. The industry is at a turning point as big pharmaceutical companies engage with RM in order to explore technologies as potential therapeutics and discovery tools. This unlocks the industry by confirming an exit path for RM based small- and medium-sized enterprises. Translation has come to be recognised as a core issue in the overall space and translation of regenerative therapies into the clinic is presently challenging, high-risk and expensive. This research addresses the question what are the mechanisms required to enable translation of emerging scientific knowledge into commercially viable clinical RM products? These mechanisms are particularly important as their creation involves and requires major investment decisions, which can determine the success or failure of RM developments and indeed of the companies concerned. The lack of well-established business models and the complexity of the domain suggested a conceptual approach drawing upon relevant literature from product and process development, applied business and revenue models, technological evolution and capital market ingenuity. The research was carried out in two phases. The first phase was concerned with identification of key challenges and mapping the overall industry emergence including emergence of related regulations to provide a context and framework for understanding the domain. Based on the emergence mapping a timeline of key parallel factors was identified, and their inherent connections explored to identify transforming events affecting and influencing multiple factors on the journey to clinical success within a business environment. This creates the reference model. The second phase was concerned with manufacturing a stem cell based therapeutic and applying health economic principles to determine available headroom for investment, cost of goods and return on investment, taking hearing disorders as a case exemplar, and exploring the behaviour of the net present value curve to identify key parameters affecting the economic positioning of this novel regime. A key output of the research is the investment readiness reference model. It integrates key RM business issues against reducing uncertainty and increasing value. The model argues that the complex nature of RM products means that the issues affecting industry emergence and development go well beyond the primarily scientific and technological concerns on which much current research focuses. The performance of RM firms ultimately hinges upon the successful clinical application of their developed products, the key step for creating and realising value, and their ability to deal with the fundamental business issues specific to the area. The framework deals with these business issues, which are investment & technology readiness, business models, organisational challenges, public policy and industry emergence. This thesis explores ideas that may bridge the chasm between the promise and reality of RM i.e. mechanisms to enable late stage translation of RM products. It links technological capability and business models for firms in the domain. Furthermore, it offers a unique perspective on the nature and characteristics of investment readiness and financial assessment, specifically identifying key parameters affecting economic positioning. The key contributions are therefore: New insights into the key challenges involved in realising the commercial potential of cell based therapeutics. Technology road mapping to link fundamental enabling technological capability for developing RM products with robust business plans integrating strategy, technology development and the regulatory and reimbursement framework. A generic investment readiness reference model generated from the enabling technology, value and supply chain structures to identify key indicators and characteristics of industry readiness. A novel experimental programme demonstrating expansion, maintenance and differentiation of human embryonic stem cells by manual and automated methods. New insights into economic positioning by mapping net present value, and economic analysis by estimating available headroom, cost of goods and return on investment for a putative hearing therapeutic.
- Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering