You wouldn’t ask a goldfish to take flying lessons, right? The chances of success would be slim.
But in essence, that’s the predicament in which CIRM has found itself when asking top notch stem cell scientists to use the agency’s funding to carry their great cell therapy ideas into and through clinical trials. While these researchers are experts at developing therapies, knowing how to successfully navigate the complex regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is another beast entirely. Many simply don’t have the experience to get those therapies off the ground by themselves.
This challenging scenario was the genesis of the $15 million CIRM Accelerating Center grant which was awarded to QuintilesIMS by the CIRM governing Board back in June. Last Tuesday, the QuintilesIMS and CIRM teams gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Accelerating Center at QuintilesIMS’s San Diego office.
CIRM President and CEO, Randy Mills, spoke to the group and described the concept behind the center and how it will help accelerate stem cell therapies to patients with unmet medical needs:
“We were asking stem cell scientists to do something they don’t have experience doing. We thought about the answer to that and it was simply: why don’t we create a center for the world’s most brilliant researchers and innovators in cell therapy that gives them the tools they need to successfully navigate this regulatory system? That way, their transformative ideas can get into the clinic so that they can be tested and go on to help patients. We have stopped asking fish to take flying lessons. We’re telling fish to swim as fast as they can and we’ll help with the areas they don’t have as much experience in. That’s the concept behind the Accelerating Center and I’m so thrilled CIRM is a part of it.”
This first-of-its-kind center will provide researchers with the support and management services they need to increase the likelihood their clinical trials will succeed. As a leading integrated information and technology-enabled healthcare service provider, QuintilesIMS is just the company to carry out this task. CIRM’s clinical-related projects that are run through the Accelerating Center will not only benefit from QuintilesIMS’s deep experience and therapeutic expertise, but they will also be given a discount on their services.
Alan Metz, QuintilesIMS’s senior vice president of Global Therapeutic and Specialty Centers of Excellence also spoke at the grand opening about how this new endeavor hits close to home given his wife’s battle with multiple sclerosis:
“My family has a particular stake in the success of stem cell therapy, and I’m pleased and indeed privileged to be part of the collaboration with CIRM. I’m thrilled that Quintiles has the opportunity to participate in this ground breaking, really exciting field of research.”
Also in attendance was Scott Peters, the United States Representative of District 52 – an area that covers portions of San Diego including the QuintilesIMS office. As Peters cut the ribbon to officially kick off the Center, Mills gave a toast to the people all of this effort is directed toward:
“I just want to make a toast that we never forget why there is a life science industry, that we never forget why we’re here and never forget why CIRM exists: this is all about accelerating therapies to patient with unmet medical needs.”