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Panaxea will investigate the cost-effectiveness of AutoCRAT’s cell-derived osteoarthritis treatment

Our partners at Panaxea ( have a unique role within AutoCRAT. On the Panaxea, PI Dr Janne Mewes remarks:

“We will evaluate the expected cost-effectiveness of the AutoCRAT platform in an early stage of development over the course of the four-year project. The results of the cost-effectiveness analysis aim to demonstrate the value-for-money of the platform to society, taking all changes in treatment and societal costs into account in comparison to the current standard of care, as well as the expected treatment results. The analysis will provide insights for decision-makers in hospitals, health insurers, and health technology assessment agencies, and be of value for guiding the further development of the platform.

As a first step, Panaxea conducted explorative interviews with the consortium partners to analyse the expected benefits of the new treatment modality, the expected changes in the treatment path of the patient, and on the wider effects of the platform, once implemented.”

Dr Janne Mewes

Panaxea´s AutoCRAT team is led by Dr Bert Vrijhoef and Dr Janne Mewes. Panaxea is a research consultancy based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which supports informed decision-making on innovations in the health sector. For more information, please visit

Read Janne’s entire news story on Panaxea’s website here.

Panaxea will investigate the cost-effectiveness of AutoCRAT’s cell-derived osteoarthritis treatment2020-10-14T08:46:23+00:00

Jelena Ochs, Fraunhofer IPT presents AutoCRAT at Advanced Therapies Connect

Jelena Ochs

Jelena Ochs

As part of the 2-day, online Advanced Therapies Connect meeting, Jelena Ochs, Research Fellow at Fraunhofer IPT joined a round table discussion entitled, “Time to automate: what about flexibility?” There were 15 participants in the discussion chaired by Dalip Sethi from Terumo BCT.

The September 29th/30th meeting was attended by more than 250 people from academia and industry. It was hosted by Phacilitate with an aim to network and push the cell therapy industry forward. Find the agenda here.


Jelena Ochs, Fraunhofer IPT presents AutoCRAT at Advanced Therapies Connect2020-10-01T11:14:07+00:00

Fraunhofer IPT hosts Lab Automation Day seminar, November 10th

Fraunhofer IPT logoOur partners at Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology, IPT are hosting a Lab Automation Day on the morning of November 10th. Learn where can laboratory automation be profitably applied, which aspects have to be considered and how the implementation can be carried out successfully. This online training seminar is targeted to life science institutions, companies and research institutes. Here, presenters will demonstrate the advantages of lab automation as well as the considerations and approaches when implementing the technologies.

The seminar will be held online and in English, so it is open to everyone. Find the registration, costs and further information waiting for you here.

For further information, please contact Jelena Ochs M.Sc. by telephone +49 241 8904-571 or email

Read our interview with Jelena Ochs here.

Fraunhofer IPT hosts Lab Automation Day seminar, November 10th2020-09-16T12:01:10+00:00

AutoCRAT zooms along: Online plenary meeting, September 11/14, 2020

Thirty-five AutoCRAT consortium members met online for a 2-day plenary meeting September 11th and 14th. The agenda was packed and lively, fruitful discussions ensued after each work package presentation. For some of the participants, this was their first chance to meet the team.

Presentations and discussions revolved around: a review of budgets, deliverables, milestones, the Scientific Advisory Board composition, a review and update of project risks, new external developments, gender equality, the discovery and validation of state-of-the-art osteoarthritis regenerative cell therapeutics, cell-free extracellular vesicle (EV)-based therapeutic development for modulation of osteoarthritis, the GMP-compliant, scalable, automated and adaptive AutoCRAT production processes, automation for at-line testing, automation for production of AutoCRAT cells and exosomes, the translation of AutoCRAT therapeutics for osteoarthritis, regulatory compliance and economic evaluation of the AutoCRAT production and testing platforms, Communication, Dissemination & Exploitation, including the project website, press releases, intellectual property management, the publications policy, and Ethics and the associated outstanding deliverables.

There is a lot of work to be done, and progress has been hampered slightly by COVID-19 delays, but there was an impressive amount of preliminary data presented which led to questions and responses from the team and a collegial plan to move the project forward.

Online AutoCRAT plenary meeting photo, September 14, 2020

AutoCRAT zooms along: Online plenary meeting, September 11/14, 20202020-09-16T09:09:24+00:00

PI Prof Bernd Giebel presents Web EV Talk acknowledging AutoCRAT

Prof. Dr Rer. Nat. Bernd Giebel, University Hospital Essen

AutoCRAT PI Prof. Dr Rer. Nat. Bernd Giebel of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine at the University Hospital Essen, Germany presented a talk entitled MSC-derived extracellular vesicles as part of the online Web EV talk series on July 16th, 2020. In his AutoCRAT-acknowledged talk, Bernd discusses how mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles are potential modulators of the immune system in many diseases. Watch the entire talk on YouTube.

The Web EV talk series is virtually hosted Dr Carolina Soekmadji and Prof. Jan Lötvall via Zoom each week. The programme aims to support networking and to push the science forward in the field of Extracellular Vesicles (EVs).

PI Prof Bernd Giebel presents Web EV Talk acknowledging AutoCRAT2020-08-18T10:39:23+00:00

Join Valitacell’s Bioprocessing Webinar Series starting August 19th

Our partners at Valitacell ( are hosting a webinar, Automation and Imaging for Media Development in Cell Therapy Manufacturing on Wednesday, August 19th, 4 pm CEST/7 am PST. This is part of a Bioprocessing Webinar Series 2020 in partnership with TECAN. Customers from both companies will present their research and solutions for the development and production of biologicals.

Learn more about the speaker, Dr Marilina Piemontese, IRC Enterprise Postdoctoral Researcher, Regenerative Medicine Institute [REMEDI], NUI Galway, in Ireland and the content of this webinar here. You can register for this free webinar here.

Valitacell is an Irish biotechnology SME that develops, markets and sells technology to biopharmaceutical, contract development and manufacturing companies enabling them to make biological drugs faster, cheaper and with greater regulatory confidence. Within AutoCRAT, Valitacell works alongside consortium members to develop ChemStress® fingerprinting technology for MSC functional profiling throughout the cell manufacturing process and investigates the application of their Quantum technology in MSC secretome assessment. These analytical tools will be fully automated in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute of Production Technology.

Join Valitacell’s Bioprocessing Webinar Series starting August 19th2020-08-17T10:49:16+00:00

Prof Simonsson, U of Gothenburg invites abstracts and chairs iPSC symposium at TERMIS 2021

The much-anticipated 6th TERMIS meeting is slated for May 31- June 4th, 2021. The meeting will take place in Maastricht in the Netherlands. AutoCRAT PI Prof Stina Simonsson of the University of Gothenburg will chair the symposium: iPSC-based bioengineering for tissue regeneration during ageing and disease.  The deadline to submit abstracts is September 1st.


Prof Simonsson, U of Gothenburg invites abstracts and chairs iPSC symposium at TERMIS 20212020-07-30T11:57:55+00:00

Join AUTOCRAT on ResearchGate

As promised in our Description of Action, we have established AutoCRAT as a ResearchGate project. Here, we will share project outputs such as publications and dissemination materials for the research community to learn about our work and use our findings. We aim to amass a significant following here since AutoCRAT will have appeal with those working in stem cell biology, osteoarthritis research, preclinical efficacy and safety demonstration, GMP- and GAMP-compliant manufacturing of MSCs, regulatory affairs, health economics analysis, regenerative medicine, automation and advanced manufacturing research, and sensor development.

Why not join us on ResearchGate too?

Join AUTOCRAT on ResearchGate2020-07-13T10:37:59+00:00

New Dissemination tools for AutoCRAT researchers

This week we have added two additional dissemination tools to the communications toolkit. Two versions of AutoCRAT-in-one-slide (below) now appear in the Project Materials toolkit available for download.

We look forward to reporting on where and when these are used!

New Dissemination tools for AutoCRAT researchers2020-07-08T14:06:03+00:00

Interview with Jelena Ochs, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology

Danielle Nicholson of Pintail Limited posed a few questions to Jelena Ochs of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) to gain her views on her work in automation research and development and AutoCRAT, in general.

Jelena Ochs

Jelena Ochs

Based in Aachen, Germany, The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology ( is part of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. Within the business area “Life Sciences Engineering” their focus is on the research and development of pioneering technologies for the entire range of life sciences from the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology to medical technology.

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role within Fraunhofer IPT.

I am a technical biologist by training and I am with Fraunhofer IPT for more than four years now. I am also a research fellow in the automation in life sciences group and leading and coordinating project work on automation of bioprocesses.

Fraunhofer IPT is a leader in production technologies. Can you give us an overview of what the institute will provide in the context of AutoCRAT?

IPT has been working on laboratory automation for many years. This means exploring the question of how can we build robot-assisted laboratories that automate entire process chains, leaving minimal intervention necessary from the operator. We have been successfully applying this also for ATMP (Advanced therapy medicinal products) production (see AUTOSTEM,, where we produce mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) in a robot-assisted, bioreactor-based process. For AutoCRAT, we will provide our existing infrastructure and expertise to:

    • extend automated processes towards the production of different cell and regenerative therapeutic products (induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPSC),
    • adding a quality control (QC) module for at-line process control and
    • enhancing the systems capabilities by making it even smarter and more functional (e.g. letting the robot clean the chamber instead of having a human operator to climb into the system).

In the end, we will have three modules (one for cell production, one for QC and one for extracellular vesicle (EV) purification) that are capable of producing a range of different cell types relevant for advanced therapies.

You have worked with several of the AutoCRAT partners in other projects, for example, AUTOSTEM. How is this an advantage?

We can build on what we have established – both physically and in terms of non-material achievements. For example, we will build on the AUTOSTEM pipeline to optimize and extend the system and exploit the findings from previous projects.

Also, interdisciplinary projects are a lot about communication. It takes certain effort for an interdisciplinary group to start speaking the same language, e.g. engineers have to understand requirements and specificities of cell culture, where living products are produced, while biologists and clinicians have to start thinking about standardization, automation and translation of processes that can be handled by robots and automated equipment. It is important that biologists and engineers work towards each other and not past each other.

IPT has been working in interdisciplinary teams for many years, but it is always an advantage to have a group where good communications and a joint understanding has been already established.

Interview with Jelena Ochs, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology2020-06-08T12:10:32+00:00

PARTNER NEWS: LUMC constructs the largest stem cell facility for the Netherlands and beyond

AutoCRAT partner Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) will begin construction of the largest non-profit stem cell and gene therapy facility in the Netherlands in 2020. This will be one of the largest such facilities in Europe measuring at 4000 square metres. The Leiden facility is called NECSTGEN, the Netherlands Centre for the Clinical advancement of Stem Cell and Gene Therapies.

The NECSTGEN is a public-private partnership. Researchers and start-ups will soon be welcomed in Leiden, NL in order to accelerate the application of regenerative medicine therapies. NECSTGEN is in part a collaboration with the Canadian Centre for Commercialisation of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM), who realised a similar facility in Toronto.

Currently, there are limited affordable, non-profit facilities where cell and cell product development for regenerative medical treatments are manufactured at scale.

One of the founders of NECSTGEN, Gerard van Loon stated, “NECSTGEN is a 100% daughter of the LUMC and started particularly to boost the cell and gene therapy research in Leiden, and particularly the LUMC.”

Congratulations to LUMC and their partners for this great achievement and contribution to the regenerative medicine field!

Read the official press release here.

PARTNER NEWS: LUMC constructs the largest stem cell facility for the Netherlands and beyond2020-06-04T10:28:20+00:00

Mary Murphy introduces AutoCRAT at EU-MSC2 meeting, Leiden

AutoCRAT was introduced to attendees at EU-MSC2,  a bi-annual event, organized by the Leiden University Medical Center in The Netherlands. The meeting assembles researchers, clinicians and cell product developers working within EU-sponsored research consortia, that focus on mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapy for immune-related disorders and tissue regeneration. EU-MSC2, a much-anticipated event provides excellent opportunities for networking, exploring new funding opportunities and the dissemination of results contributing to MSC knowledge-sharing, research and development.

Prof Mary Murphy presented the final results of AUTOSTEM (grant 667932), the precursor EU Horizon 2020-funded project of AutoCRAT. Mary’s talk kicked off the September 5, 2019 meeting and was entitled: A fully closed system: from donor cell procurement to patient administration. 

The comprehensive meeting report prepared by Katerina Apelt, Brigitte Wieles and Melissa van Pel of LUMC was published on April 29th, 2020, by the Regenerative Medicine Network.  Read their findings here.




Mary Murphy introduces AutoCRAT at EU-MSC2 meeting, Leiden2020-04-30T12:01:43+00:00

AutoCRAT’s first Dissemination tool is published

Curious about AutoCRAT- what we do, who is involved, how the project will help advance the treatment of osteoarthritis?

Look no further! The AutoCRAT brochure is ready to download and print.


AutoCRAT’s first Dissemination tool is published2020-03-02T08:32:59+00:00

In the news- AutoCRAT

Our launch has made international news! Here are several links to websites where the AutoCRAT launch has been covered by the media:

In the news- AutoCRAT2020-03-06T11:33:17+00:00

AutoCRAT Team Meets in Dublin for Kick-Off!

The AutoCRAT partners assembled for the first time on 28 and 29 January in Dublin for the Project Kick-Off Meeting. The meeting followed our initial on line meeting on 7 January.

Valitacell (Irish SME and project partner), hosted the team at the Irish National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training (NIBRT) in Blackrock. Partners presented on their background and expertise and outlined plans within individual work packages, with a special focus on tasks over the next 12 months.

Some members of the group have worked together before, but many were meeting for the first time. The multidisciplinary strengths of the consortium were clear, with expertise including cell biology (hiPSC, MSC, extracellular vesicles), OA, molecular analysis and data sciences, regenerative medicine, pre-clinical and clinical research, automated production technologies, QC methodologies, health economics, ethics and regulatory affairs.

Coordinator Prof Mary Murphy (NUI Galway) led some lively discussions and key areas for immediate collaborations among different partners were identified. We came away with an agreed action plan for the busy months ahead!

Many thanks to Valitacell for hosting such a productive and enjoyable event. We are already starting to plan for the next meeting in Gothenberg next Summer.

AutoCRAT Team Meets in Dublin for Kick-Off!2020-02-03T13:59:05+00:00

Project starts!

Project starts!

We are delighted to announce the start of the AutoCRAT Project on 1 January 2020. Partners are assembling their teams and making plans for the work ahead.

The AutoCRAT Project will identify optimal next-generation therapies for OA and cartilage repair. We will generate sustainable sources of therapeutic cells and build the AutoCRAT Regenerative Medicine Factory (ARM-F) to enable reliable, economic, regulatory-compliant means of production of cells and cell-based products at scale for therapeutic use.

The kickoff meeting is taking place in Dublin on 28 and 29 January 2020. Please follow us on Facebook and/or Twitter for more updates.

Project starts!2020-01-29T15:59:58+00:00
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