CUHK and HKSTP partner to establish a world-class GMP facility to drive cell therapy development in Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), announce their partnership to build a world-class Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility in Hong Kong to accelerate the development of life-saving cancer therapies, regenerative medicine, and related biomedical technologies.
As the city’s biomedical sector undergoes accelerated growth, there is an increasing demand for supporting facilities that comply with PIC/S GMP standards, required for the development and manufacture of Advanced Therapy Products (ATPs). These products, including those for stem cell therapy, gene therapy and immunotherapy, can potentially provide new and life-saving treatments for diseases with limited or no treatment options including cancers, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
To facilitate the development of this emerging class of medicines, and safeguard public health, the HKSAR passed the Pharmacy and Poisons (Amendment) 2020 Ordinance (CAP. 138), which provides that the requirements for pharmaceutical products under this ordinance shall also apply to ATPs. All manufacturers of ATPs will need to obtain a licence to fully comply with the PIC/S GMP standards when producing such products for both clinical trials and the commercial markets.
In response, CUHK and HKSTP are joining forces to establish a GMP facility for cell therapy, as part of their strategic collaboration to accelerate translational medicine development.
Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP, said, “The partnership with CUHK addresses a great public health challenge. Building this world-class GMP facility will bridge the gap between Hong Kong’s thriving biomedical technology development with the international healthcare sector. It also brings top researchers from academia and promising start-ups together, to advance Hong Kong’s international position in biomedical technology.”
Professor Wai-yee Chan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of CUHK, said, “CUHK has always been committed to promoting research development in Hong Kong. The University is very pleased to be collaborating with HKSTP in establishing a world-standard GMP facility. This is good news for both CUHK and the industry as this facility provides an ideal environment for researchers with expertise in cell therapy and regenerative medicine in Hong Kong to implement clinical trials, as well as receiving support in research and professional training. I strongly believe that it will bring new breakthroughs in cell therapy in the future and will benefit more cancer patients.”
The facility aims to accelerate the development of ATPs from bench-to-bedside, while stimulate the testing and commercialisation process. Clinical trials in cell-based cancer therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) and stem cell-based regenerative therapies will be the initial focus of the facility. As part of the launch, relevant scientists and operators will receive training to operate, audit and regulate both the facility, and the products manufactured.
The sophisticated GMP facility will be built inside the Hong Kong Institute of Biotechnology (HKIB), a CUHK subsidiary which is strategically situated in between CUHK campus and Hong Kong Science Park. The 3,800+ square foot facility is scheduled to be in operation in early 2021 and is expected to be fully compliant with the highly stringent international PIC/S standards shortly after opening.
About Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation
Comprising Science Park, InnoCentre and Industrial Estates, Hong Kong Science & Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body dedicated to building a vibrant innovation and technology ecosystem to connect stakeholders, nurture technology talents, facilitate collaboration, and catalyse innovations to deliver social and economic benefits to Hong Kong and the region.
Established in May 2001, HKSTP has been driving the development of Hong Kong into a regional hub for innovation and growth in several focused clusters including Electronics, Information & Communications Technology, Green Technology, Biomedical Technology, Materials and Precision Engineering. We enable science and technology companies to nurture ideas, innovate and grow, supported by our R&D facilities, infrastructure, and market-led laboratories and technical centres with professional support services. We also offer value added services and comprehensive incubation programmes for technology start-ups to accelerate their growth.
Technology businesses benefit from our specialised services and infrastructure at Science Park for applied research and product development; enterprises can find creative design support at InnoCentre; while skill-intensive businesses are served by our three industrial estates at Tai Po, Tseung Kwan O and Yuen Long. More information about HKSTP is available at www.hkstp.org.
About The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Founded in 1963, CUHK is a leading comprehensive research university with a global reputation. Located in the heart of Asia, CUHK has a vision and a mission to combine tradition with modernity, and to bring together China and the West. Under the University’s unique collegiate system, the programmes and activities offered by its nine colleges complement the formal curricula by delivering whole-person education and pastoral care. The University has eight faculties: Arts, Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Law, Medicine, Science, and Social Science. Together with the Graduate School, the University offers over 300 undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. All faculties are actively engaged in research in a wide range of disciplines, with an array of research institutes and research centres specialising in interdisciplinary research of the highest quality.
CUHK is recognised as the most innovative university in Hong Kong for the fourth consecutive year and is ranked 26th in the Asia-Pacific region by Reuters’ latest “Asia Pacific Region’s Most Innovative Universities” listing. The University currently has more than 1,000 granted patents in different jurisdictions worldwide. Some of these patents have been licensed to relevant industries that help bring these innovations to the market to benefit society. In academic year 2019-20, CUHK has received 257 granted patents and filed 386 patent applications for inventions developed in the areas of medical technology, biotechnology, information technology, telecommunications, and materials science.