CGT Catapult to support UK network of advanced treatment centres

'World First' centres will develop and deliver systems for the delivery of cutting edge cell and gene therapies

The Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult will support three UK sites awarded funding to form a network of advanced therapies treatment centres – joint ventures set up to include industry, academic and NHS partners, funded by Innovate UK.

The centres; Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub (iMATCH), the Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC, comprising Birmingham, Wales and Nottingham) and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NAATTC, comprising Scotland, Newcastle and Leeds) will specialise in the delivery of cell and gene therapy products.

Unlike conventional medicines, cell and gene therapies offer revolutionary treatments to repair, replace, regenerate, and re-engineer genes, cells and tissues to restore normal function, sometimes offering cures where acute unmet medical need exists.

Such treatments often manipulate the patient’s own cells to fight these diseases. However, new systems are needed to deliver these transformative therapies to the NHS.

“This network represents the continued progress of advanced therapies from the lab to the patient,” said Keith Thompson, CEO at CGT Catapult.

“We are excited to be playing a key role in increasing patient access to these potentially life-changing therapies as well as further establishing best practice in their safe and effective delivery. We will help to join up manufacturing centres to these new treatment centres and establish new vein to vein clinical pathways."

"Our manufacturing centre, which will open fully in 2018, is expected to help pave the way, at scale, for the industrialisation and commercialisation of cell and gene medicines,” said Thompson.

The centres have been awarded £21 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund with further funding available to support the delivery of projects by the network.

The funding is part of a £146 million allocation set aside under the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge to develop first-of-a-kind technologies for the manufacture of innovative medicines across areas including arthritis, blindness, cancer, heart failure, liver disease, neurological conditions, peripheral vascular disease and rare paediatric diseases.

The CGT Catapult will play a co-ordination role for the network and provide support to the network.

Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said: “Innovate UK’s investment in the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres is a crucial component of the government’s modern industrial strategy. They will support the deployment of cutting edge cell and gene science to tackle some of the most debilitating conditions that patients face today. These centres will also help to maintain and boost the UK’s global leadership in this sector, delivering new revenue and growth for the healthcare economy.”

Leveraging the unique skills of the industrial partners, the centres will work together to increase patient access to advanced therapies on a national scale, as well as establish best practice for the near-patient manufacturing, safe and effective delivery of those therapies.

The centres aim to create robust, integrated supply chains with systems to allow for traceability and tracking of both products and patients. This will ensure best practice for patient follow-up and data capture.

This type of integrated system will be the first to be established in the UK and will position the country as a leader in the delivery of clinical trials and the routine clinical delivery of cell and gene therapies. These systems will also provide key data to support reimbursement and payment systems - the next significant barrier for these often curative therapies.

Cell and gene therapies are highly complex and challenging to deliver in a traditional healthcare setting. Expanding small-scale clinical trials for these therapies is a complicated task for individual organisations.

As a goal of this three year project, industry partners will work together with the public sector and CGT Catapult to develop the necessary processes, skilled staff and infrastructure for these products at scale as more of them move from clinical trial to marketed products.