May 15, 2023 (Guelph, Ontario) – The Canadian Advanced Therapies Training Institute (CATTI) Inc. has launched its first in-person training site at the University of Guelph through a partnership with OmniaBio Inc., CCRM and the university. The training program, to begin in summer 2023, will cater to recent post-secondary graduates, industry professionals and companies growing their roster of clean room manufacturing staff. The fast growth of cell and gene therapies (CGTs) has made it a challenge for the global industry to keep up with talent requirements. This new CGT technical training site will begin to address the industry’s critical training needs and represents the first stage of a larger, multi-site training strategy for CATTI.
“The biosafety level 2 lab space at the University of Guelph will expand CATTI’s offering in central Canada and provide hands-on-learning in a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art space for workers across Canada and internationally,” explains Vanessa Laflamme, CEO, Canadian Advanced Therapies Training Institute (CATTI). “We expect to train over 600 people in the next two years, including over 300 employees for OmniaBio, one of CATTI’s strategic customers.”
“When CCRM and CellCAN launched CATTI in 2021, our vision was to build a skilled biomanufacturing workforce in Canada to meet current and future needs. This training site at the University of Guelph will play an important role as Canada prepares and adapts to an emerging industry that represents the future of medicine,” says Michael May, President and CEO, CCRM. “This is a first for Canada, and I’m pleased to see this coming to fruition so quickly as it will benefit Canadians by fostering a strong, domestic biomanufacturing industry.”
For the first year, the program will focus on human pluripotent stem cell banking, aseptic techniques, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) optimized for CGT manufacturing, and lab skills (such as pipetting, vessel handling, microscope operation, and more).
The curriculum will include a combination of online courses and hands-on courses in a specialized training lab designed to focus on providing GMP industry standard skill sets.
The rapid opening of this unique training site in Ontario wouldn’t have been possible without the contributions of CCRM and its recently launched subsidiary, OmniaBio. OmniaBio is set to be Canada’s largest contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) for the manufacture of CGTs. In the first phase of construction, OmniaBio is building an 89,000 ft2 (7,432 m2 ) facility, equipped with 15 clean rooms and staffed by 500 employees, which is expected to be completed in 2024. With a second building planned, OmniaBio and CCRM will have more than 50 clean rooms and over 1,000 employees. With its focus on providing clean room-ready skills for this fast-growing Canadian manufacturing sector, CATTI is a pivotal contributor to OmniaBio’s growth, and the growth of the biomanufacturing sector overall.
“OmniaBio has a significant need for trained talent due to the growth trajectory and technical capability of its operation,” says Mitchel Sivilotti, CEO, OmniaBio Inc. “This collaboration with CATTI and the University of Guelph is a win for everyone involved. We will support the effort by providing funding, strategic guidance and content development input to facilitate a hands-on, highly-focused, GMP training experience utilizing the most current equipment and technologies used in CGT manufacturing today.”
“This program is a key partnership for OmniaBio and will create a reliable and lean system to support our ability to onboard and advance the careers of biotech manufacturing specialists at the speed we need to meet market demand. Canada, in turn, gains a growing and highly-skilled workforce that will enable companies like OmniaBio to produce life-saving products for our biotechnology clients and the patients who need them,” continued Sivilotti.
“I am so pleased and excited to begin our partnership with CATTI, OmniaBio and CCRM,” says Tarek Saleh, Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), University of Guelph. “This collaboration aligns with OVC’s strategic mandate of improving the health of humans, animals and our environment, and will allow the training of highly-qualified personnel in the field of regenerative medicine, including cell therapy. This will allow us to meet the Province of Ontario’s mandate of ensuring our students have an employment opportunity upon graduation, as well as meet the growing demands of this industry sector.”
The Canadian Advanced Therapies Training Institute (CATTI), launched through a partnership between CellCAN and CCRM, is developing and scaling e-learning and on-site GMP training programs for efficient and rapid upskilling of the biomanufacturing workforce required in Canada and internationally. CATTI’s goal is to be a premier GMP clean room-ready training organization in North America, bridging the gap between the academic background qualifications and the clean room-ready needs of the growing CGT biomanufacturing industry. Visit us at catti.ca.
CCRM is a global, public-private partnership headquartered in Canada, established with seed funding provided by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, and leading academic and industry partners. CCRM supports the development of regenerative medicines and associated enabling technologies, with a specific focus on cell and gene therapy. A network of researchers, leading companies, investors and entrepreneurs, CCRM accelerates the translation of scientific discovery into new companies and marketable products for patients, with specialized teams, dedicated funding, and unique infrastructure. In 2022, CCRM established OmniaBio Inc., a preclinical to commercial-stage CDMO for manufacturing gene-modified cells and viral vectors for cell and gene therapies. CCRM is hosted by the University of Toronto. Visit us at ccrm.ca.
About OmniaBio Inc.
OmniaBio Inc. is a contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) focused on cell and gene therapies from pre-clinical through to commercialization, and a subsidiary of CCRM. Benefitting from CCRM’s existing expertise, OmniaBio provides a continuum of advanced process and analytical development, and manufacturing capabilities, by enabling focused support for clients from early clinical phase to commercial supply needs. OmniaBio is built upon leadership in iPSCs, immunotherapy and LVVs. To be located at McMaster Innovation Park, less than one hour from the U.S. border, OmniaBio’s new commercial manufacturing site will anchor a biomanufacturing centre of excellence and will open with late clinical phase and commercial capacity in 2024 in a site totalling approximately 100,000 square feet. OmniaBio is supported by the Government of Ontario, via the Invest Ontario Fund. Please visit us at omniabio.com.
About the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph
The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is a world leader in advancing veterinary medicine and health research to improve the health of animals, people, and our planet. OVC educates the next generation of health leaders and provides high-value experiential learning opportunities through an interdisciplinary, comparative approach aimed at finding real-world solutions to real-world problems. OVC is one of the founding colleges of the University of Guelph and one of Canada’s top comprehensive and research-intensive universities. To learn more visit ovc.uoguelph.ca.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Tarek Saleh
Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences
Ontario Veterinary College
Chief Scientific Officer
Vice President, Communications and Marketing
CCRM and OmniaBio Inc.