Q&A with Dr. Veronica Iatarola Antas, Research Scientist and Project Lead at Regeneus

Q. Tell us about your role as a Research Scientist and Project Lead at Regeneus?

A. My role is extremely diverse and has evolved over my time at Regeneus. Initially, I was responsible for optimising our product manufacturing processes, including manufacturing products for our preclinical and clinical trials. For example, I provided the data to support preclinical studies that evaluated Progenza™ for osteoarthritis in rabbits and pain in rats.

Currently, my focus is on conducting assurance reviews of data and documentation relating to our technologies before it is transferred to prospective contract manufacturing organizations (CMOs) we may work with. For example, I am currently working on this in preparation for the manufacturing of our Progenza™ product for our Phase II clinical trials, as we seek licence and collaboration partners in the US. I also participate in R&D projects led by our Head of R&D, Dr. Charlotte Morgan and R&D Manager, Flyn McKinnirey, in addition to performing Quality Assurance and process improvement duties at Regeneus.

Q. What is your background and experience in the regenerative medicine and stem cell space? How did this lead you to Regeneus?

A. I have always been fascinated by Medical Science, especially the regenerative medicine and stem cell fields. I started my career as a Pharmacist, followed by post-graduate studies in Assisted Reproductive Technologies, Higher Education and Nutrition. My passion for research led me to complete my PhD on molecular mechanisms that regulate hematopoietic stem cell development at the University of Sydney.

During my PhD I published multiple articles on stem cells, and I also lectured in Medicine at University of Sydney. After my PhD, I worked as the Manager of the NSW Stem Cell Network where I got a glimpse of different companies and initiatives in the stem cell industry within NSW, which gave me further insight and passion for the industry. This is what led me to Regeneus.

Q. What is your focus for the next 12 months?

A. My focus for the next 12 months is to work closely and efficiently with both the Regeneus team and our CMO’s to ensure that we get Progenza™ ready for Phase II clinical trials in Japan and the US. Technology transfer between Regeneus and CMOs is well underway, together with our Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) development, which I am helping manage. This involves applying quality processes to every manufacturing stage to ensure that the final product consistently meets specifications and safety requirements.

Once Progenza™ GMP manufacturing is concluded, Phase II clinical trials will take place. Phase II clinical trials are very important, as the data captured will allow Regeneus to move forward on our commercialisation pathway and ultimately obtain conditional market approval in Japan.

The opportunity for Progenza™ and Regeneus to deliver a truly unique and effective treatment option to patients of osteoarthritis is very promising, and over the next 12 months I am committed to ensuring these prospects turn into reality.

Q. What do you believe is next for regenerative medicine and what role do you think Regeneus can play in advancing the sector?

A. The regenerative medicine sector has made rapid progress in the past few years and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of products that are either under clinical trials or already in the market.

Regeneus has two competitive, proprietary platforms (Progenza™ and Sygenus) that target pain and inflammation, while promoting tissue repair. The disease modifying properties of these two products, due to our patented inclusion of Mesenchymal Signalling Cells (MSCs) and their bioactive molecules (‘secretome’), make them superior to most ‘traditional’ drugs, which tend to be restricted to symptomatic relief and/or are associated with serious side effects.

As Regeneus is the only regenerative medicine company to have the patents to develop this innovative science, I believe our two platforms place Regeneus at the forefront of the regenerative medicine market and I hope will see us deliver life changing therapies to patients globally.

Q. What are you most excited about for Regeneus and the impact it can make?

A. I am thrilled to be part of Regeneus at a time of rapid progress and imminent break-through achievements. Regeneus is a company that truly values innovation, research and commercialisation of novel products and technologies, and I strongly relate to these principles.

Progenza™ and Sygenus have great therapeutic potential which can positively impact the quality of life of patients suffering from osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions. I am most excited to see the progression of our products to clinical trials and ultimately to the market, as I have witnessed in our preclinical trials their potential to be life-changing and provide a multitude of therapeutic benefits to patients.

I am proud of the work I do at Regeneus and of the hard-working team that I am a part of. It is truly rewarding to know that one day what we do may contribute to providing pain-free life to many people worldwide.