Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult announces major UK investment in skills and capabilities


£3 million in Government investment to drive forward the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy via apprenticeships and skills

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult announces major UK investment in skills and capabilities

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) announced a significant scale-up of skills and capability training to bridge the gap between regulatory approval of cell and gene therapies and their integration into front line health services.

Speaking at the World Advanced Therapies and Regenerative Medicine Congress in London, CGT Catapult Chief Executive Officer Keith Thompson said the new funding was made available by UK Research and Innovation, through Innovate UK, in response to Sir John Bell’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy.

It comprises £3 million, funded through the Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) for Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres (ATTCs) and awarded following the recommendations of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP)

He stated: “Cell and gene therapies live at the leading edge of medical and scientific possibility, but medicines discovery and clinical development are only half the story.

"Key to widespread adoption in health services is the unique skills and capability set required to manufacture, supply and administer these important medicines to patients.

"We’re therefore pleased to be announcing a £1.5 million allocation to develop apprenticeships in partnership with MMIP, and £1.5 million for capability development through the ATTCs.”

Andy Evans, Site Lead (VP) for Macclesfield Multi Format Facility at AstraZeneca and MMIP Chair, commented: “The UK is maintaining a strong global lead in the development of advanced therapies and is rightly turning its attention to bringing the skills necessary to translate discovery to successful patient care.

Anchoring the development, manufacture and use of these potentially curative medicines in the UK is critical and we are excited to embark on the next stage of the journey towards apprenticeships, training and highly-skilled job creation.”

Three UK Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres, previously awarded £21 million in Innovate UK funding through the ISCF Medicines Manufacturing challenge, are collaborative ventures between industry, academic and NHS partners. They comprise the 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).

Key to the success of the planned centres is using technology to facilitate patient access to cell and gene therapy products. This will involve full traceability and appropriate patient follow up and data capture.

The centres will also provide important data to support future reimbursement and payment, which otherwise would remain a key barrier to widespread implementation.

Dr Ian Campbell, Executive Chair at Innovate UK said that the investment into these centres will facilitate innovation in medical science, tackling some of the most debilitating and devastating medical conditions affecting people today. Innovate UK aims to drive forward a new generation of medicines into mainstream healthcare whilst building upon the UK's position as a global hub in clinical development and commercialisation.

The new skills investment builds on the 2018 opening of a Cell and Gene Therapy Manufacturing Centre in Hertfordshire’s Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. It is backed by over £60 million in Industrial Strategy investment and created to support and develop the rapidly growing global cell and gene therapy industry in the UK, whilst demonstrating the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy in action alongside plans for the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres.

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The Stevenage-based centre, operating to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards for clinical product manufacturing, will provide the global advanced therapeutics industry with the infrastructure to develop manufacturing capability and systems for large-scale cell and gene therapy clinical studies, and accelerate commercialisation. Manufacturing Chemist reported on its opening here.