The Cell Therapy Catapult, the UK organisation dedicated to the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry by bridging the gap between scientific research and commercialisation, today announces the official initiation of construction for its cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre.
John Brown marked the beginning of construction at an event on the site. Marking the importance of the manufacturing centre to the international cell and gene therapy sectors, the event has been attended by a range of figures representing academic, healthcare, regulatory and industry interests across the advanced therapy sectors.
The Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre is due to be completed and opened in 2017. When completed, the venue will be spread over a 7,200m2 area. It is being built in Stevenage at the centre of a growing cluster. In addition, close proximity to international air transport links at London Heathrow airport will enable time critical transport of the cells of patients to and from the developer facility.
Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has committed £55 million to the Cell Therapy Catapult for the creation of the centre. It will directly create up to 150 specialist jobs, and many more additional roles in the cluster that grows around it. The UK government and Cell Therapy Catapult also anticipate the centre will attract considerable inward investment to the UK. Most importantly, by providing a direct solution to central challenges for the development of cellular therapies, it will speed up the developments of critically needed treatments for patients in the UK and internationally.
“The Cell Therapy Catapult cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre will be the world’s first facility of its kind. I am very proud that it will be built in the UK,” said George Freeman, MP, UK Government Minister for Life Sciences. “The UK is at the leading edge of the cell and gene therapy industry, with a disproportionate share of both world leading scientists and new developments in the field. It will also contribute to considerable additional inward investment to the UK. This has created an advantage upon which the country has to continue to capitalise. The centre will contribute to the development of a large scale industry in the UK and the development of a cell and gene therapy cluster that will deliver both health and wealth to the UK.”
“Initiating construction on our £55 million, 7,200m2 manufacturing centre is a major milestone for the Cell Therapy Catapult,” said Keith Thompson, CEO, the Cell Therapy Catapult. “Manufacturing continues to involve significant international logistical and regulatory challenges to the development of cell therapies. The manufacturing centre will be a game changer for the UK cell therapy industry, as well as the future international availability of therapies for patients. Both UK and international companies will now be able to plan and spread costs via economies of scale for their manufacturing for clinical trials for the UK, European and global markets.”
Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said “This pioneering new manufacturing facility will be a huge asset for UK life sciences businesses and will act as a magnet for inward investment, further reinforcing the UK as a global leader in cell and gene therapies.”