BioMed|Tech event highlights tissue regeneration initiative

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From left, inventor Dean Kamen, seated next to Mayor Joyce Craig and Commissioner, NH Dept. Business & Economic Affairs Taylor Caswell. Photo/Laura Aronson

MANCHESTER, NH — The New Hampshire Tech Alliance held its first BioMed|Tech event of the year on April 4, focusing on the expanded partner ecosystem of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI). The event was held at  DEKA, 400 Commercial Street.

The organization’s goal is make scalable tissue and organ manufacturing a reality, utilizing ecosystem partnerships, the new Tissue Foundry & Incubator, and economic and workforce development efforts.

“There has been a lot of excitement and energy about ARMI since its launch in 2017,” said Cindy Conde, co-chair of the BioMed|Tech initiative. “ARMI’s noble mission to make tissue and organ manufacturing a reality has the potential of being a ‘quality of life’ game-changer for patients in need around the world. ARMI’s partner ecosystem plays a leading role in the nation’s vibrant and dynamic biotech community.”

Mayor Joyce Craig and Dean Kamen, President of DEKA & Executive Director, ARMI BioFabUSA, welcomed the speakers and guests.

“New Hampshire will be the hub for replacement organs within our lifetimes. Most of the money in healthcare is going to chronic care. [For example…] no patient looks forward to kidney dialysis. Our goal is to provide a cure with the patient’s own tissue so there is no rejection,” Kamen said.

Hannah Strobel, Postdoctoral Fellow, Advanced Solutions Life Sciences, said, “We are building an entire automated workflow at the locations where patients need it.”

Dr. Thomas Bollenbach, Chief Technology Office of ARMI BioFAbUSA, said, “Tissue manufacturing processes will be scalable, modular, automated, and closed” in a sterile laboratory that will perform:

  1. Patient cell collection
  2. Cell differentiation and expansion
  3. 4D modeling
  4. BioAssembly and maturation
  5. Patient surgery

While the process is under development in Manchester, it includes packaging and preservation, followed by transport and logistics.

State, university, and businesses work to bring professionals to Manchester

Taylor Caswell, Commissioner, NH Dept. Business & Economic Affairs, NH Commissioner of Business and Economic Affairs described the state’s efforts to attract and retail businesses with tax breaks, and Kamen said that the state will pay off student loans for graduates who stay five years.

Mike Decelle, Dean of UNH Manchester and chief workforce office for ARMI, described the university’s plan to open a Biotechnology Innovation Center in the fall of this year, which will be the educational and workforce nexus for ARMI and the U.S. regenerative manufacturing industry. It will be 20,000-square-foot facility located on the sixth floor of the UNH Manchester campus. It will provide BioFabUSA workforce training, small company incubation, and biotechnology research.

Moderator Christina Ferrari, far left, and panelists Hannah Strobel, Tom Bollenbach, Mike Decelle and Luis Alvarez. Photo/Laura Aronson

A panel, moderated by Christina Ferrari, Esq. of Bernstein, Shur, Sawyer & Nelson, included Strobel, Bollenbach, Decelle, and Luis Alvarez, Director, Organ Manufacturing, United Technologies.

Ferrari’s questions focused on the panelists’ adjustment to living and their top need: recruiting professionals to Manchester.  Alvarez described giving candidates a tour of Elm Street and said, “This is better than Kendall Square can be.”

Decelle said, “We want to be the convening place, the cool place for companies around the country to work with us in this sector.”

Toral Cowieson, Chair, NH Tech Alliance, announced that Julie Demers will become the group’s director in the fall.