Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer visits Fraunhofer IZI
The Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology IZI welcomed Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer and Novartis Oncology Germany on Tuesday June 11, 2019.
At the institute, Managing Director of Fraunhofer IZI Prof. Ulrike Köhl and General Manager of Novartis Oncology in Germany Heinrich Moisa provided information on the latest developments regarding new cancer therapies. A joint discussion was then held on the challenges and opportunities facing the region of Saxony when it comes to the development of innovative immunotherapies to fight cancer.
Novartis and Fraunhofer IZI have been working together in the field of CAR-T cell therapies since 2015. The Leipzig-based Fraunhofer institute is one of the central manufacturing and development sites for the cell therapy Kymriah®.
Dr. Gerno Schmiedeknecht, Head of the Main Department of GMP Cell and Gene Therapy, showed the guests around the clean room facilities and explained the complex manufacturing process.
Saxony's Prime Minister Kretschmer acknowledged just how important the successful cooperation with the Swiss biotechnology and pharmaceutical company is for Saxony as a business location and encouraged “the start of a strategic dialog between universities, non-university facilities, Fraunhofer and Novartis with a focus on Saxony.”
Kymriah® (tisagenlecleucel) was approved by the European Commission at the end of August 2018 as the first patient-specific CAR-T cell therapy for children and young adults with relapsed or refractory (r/r) acute lymphocytic B-cell leukemia (ALL) and for adults with r/r diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).
Detailed information (in German only) on the CAR-T cell therapy can be found here.
Kretschmer’s visit to Fraunhofer IZI comes ahead of his Sachsengespräch tour. This will see Saxony's Prime Minister and representatives from the state government visit Saxony’s ten administrative districts and independent towns, where they will meet and talk to local citizens and representatives from the fields of politics, business and science.