Overview of BEAM
McMaster University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (Fraunhofer IZI) are proposing a joint project centre in Hamilton to develop novel technologies for cell therapy and point-of-care diagnostics. This new project centre will become the Fraunhofer Project Centre for Biomedical Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing at McMaster University -- BEAM.
Once operational, BEAM will be a center for applied research and development in life sciences and biotechnology with special emphasis on advanced procedures for manufacturing cells, as well products comprising patient-specific and functionalized (stem) cell preparations, biomolecules, biologicals, devices and support structures for bioanalytics, clinical diagnosis and therapy.
The development of BEAM will capitalize on the strength of each institution in developing innovative biotechnologies. Fraunhofer IZI offers significant experience in cell therapy development and Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) cell production. In this field, medical and economic demands have started to cause an urgent need to increase output quantity, quality and speed. At the same time, cell therapies are envisioned to move beyond the current state of the art by providing tailored, e.g. patient- and disease-specific (stem) cell preparations and by utilizing of bioengineering techniques to enhance cell treatment safety, tracking, applicability, and efficacy.
Both partners will bring expertise in medicine and engineering to BEAM which will develop a new industry around manufacturing: the instruments, systems management tools and sterile environment enclosures that will be required by companies around the world to take on the challenge of personalized cell therapies at the most advanced stages.
The joint creation of BEAM represents the nucleus of that new industry with the potential for development partnerships with industry and the birth of spin-off companies to commercialize new technologies. Further, the cutting-edge biosensor technologies available at McMaster and Fraunhofer IZI will serve as a keystone of our automation efforts by enabling real-time monitoring of the cell production processes. The establishment of large-scale manufacturing methods for these biosensors in BEAM will provide a secondary platform for business development in the area of point-of-care diagnostics, including those that can be used to follow the progress of cell therapies, ultimately broadening the joint venture’s business opportunities.