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Project news

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

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