QUÉBEC CITY, Sept. 12, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Héma-Québec, Québec City and the Government of Québec announce the construction of the C∙LAVIE complex, a cell production facility representing an investment of $21.5M that will be built in the Michelet innovation space within the territory of Québec City.
The Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr. Réjean Hébert, the Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, Agnès Maltais, the Mayor of Québec, Régis Labeaume, and the President and CEO of Héma-Québec, Dr. Jean De Serres, met this morning on the campus of Université Laval, near Héma-Québec's facilities. This event was also attended by representatives of the Laboratoire de fractionnement biologique (LFB), from France, who also took the opportunity to sign a reciprocity agreement with Héma-Québec, with respect to the manufacture of medications based on stem cells.
The new building, with an area of 3,716 square metres, will provide a controlled environment (white rooms) that complies with good manufacturing practises (GMP), a pre-requisite for regulatory product approval. For the first few years, it will primarily be used to manufacture standardized cell and tissue products for clinical studies. Eventually, it will also ensure large-scale production of approved cellular medications. The work will start in 2014 and will benefit from contributions of $14.25M from Héma-Québec, $4.25M from the City of Québec and $3M from the Héma-Québec Foundation.
"Québec will soon have an ultra-modern facility equipped with high-tech equipment that will be used for the benefit of Québec patients and researchers from Québec universities, hospitals and biotechnology firms. It will also attract other organizations. This facility will reinforce Héma-Québec's position as a life sciences hub on the North American market, in addition to contributing to the enrichment of investments and the creation of jobs in leading-edge sectors," said Dr. De Serres.
Cell and tissue products, manufactured from stem cells, represent a treatment hope for numerous patients in neurology, cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, hematology and other fields. To date, the development of cell therapies in Québec has been hampered by major obstacles. Several cell products cannot be manufactured as a result of a lack of both production capacity and the financial resources needed to initiate clinical studies. Héma-Québec will overcome this difficulty by making its operational, scientific and regulatory expertise available to Québec stakeholders involved in cell and tissue production. The objective is to accelerate the transition from research to clinical use and to provide medications to Québec hospitals at less cost.
"Through its support for this project, our government is demonstrating its visionary qualities. We hope that this project will make Québec a leader in the field of cell production and that it will contribute to the development of expertise in the life sciences. This project is intended, above all, to improve the health of Quebecers and presents interesting potential for savings for the health network," said Dr. Dr Réjean Hébert, Minister of Health and Social Services.
Héma-Québec will serve as the missing link between research and the patient. It will offer a local option, the only one to date, since the absence of a Canadian project means that production is currently handled in the United States.
"This initiative will serve to develop new expertise in an emerging field on a local basis, in addition to creating approximately 50 jobs in the region. Héma-Québec will be called on to work with numerous research organizations in Québec and elsewhere. We hope that such partnerships will encourage other organizations to locate in the Capitale-Nationale region and, in this way, contribute to the great economic potential of the region," added the Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, Agnès Maltais.
"The City of Québec proudly welcomes the arrival of Héma-Québec, a major stakeholder in the life sciences field, as the first occupant in the Michelet innovation space, a new-generation technology park based on the three pillars of sustainable development, namely environment, economy and society. A major element in the Economic development strategy, the Michelet space will be developed so as to encourage active and collective means of transportation and will be equipped with a day-care centre for workers and residents," said Régis Labeaume, Mayor of Québec.
"This new mandate complements the current activities of Héma-Québec, which processes and distributes an entire line of products of human origin, including more than 25 medications prepared from blood, and 17 human tissue and stem cell products. Héma-Québec will dedicate its experience and know-how to the completion of this new activity, which will be financed through existing budgets. Its skill in managing biological products will ensure the safety of the products," concluded Dr. De Serres.
Héma-Québec's mission is to efficiently provide adequate quantities of safe, optimal blood components, substitutes, human tissues and cord blood to meet the needs of all Quebecers; to provide and develop expertise along with specialized and innovative services and products in the fields of transfusion medicine and human tissue transplantation.
Héma-Québec encompasses 1,300 employees, over 300,000 donor visits to blood drives per year, 16,000 volunteers and more than 500,000 blood products delivered annually to Québec hospitals to meet the needs of patients.
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