Construction starts at Cell Therapy Catapult’s £55m cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre

Turf cut on new 7,200 square metre facility in Stevenage, UK

L to R: Keith Thompson, CEO, Cell Therapy Catapult; Martino Picardo, CEO, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst; Dr Nicole Mather, Director, Office for Life Sciences, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Department of Health; Jan Thirkettle, VP, Cell and Gene Therapy Platform, GSK; Stephen Ward, COO, Cell Therapy Catapult; John Brown, Chair, Cell Therapy Catapult

The Cell Therapy Catapult, a UK organisation dedicated to the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, has announced the official start of construction for its 7,200m2 cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre.

John Brown, Chairman of the Cell Therapy Catapult, marked the beginning of building work at a groundbreaking ceremony on the site attended by representatives from academia, healthcare, regulatory and industry interests across the advanced therapy sectors.

The Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre is due to be completed and opened in Stevenage in 2017. Its proximity to international air transport links at London Heathrow airport will enable time critical transport of the cells of patients to and from the facility.

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has committed £55m to the Cell Therapy Catapult for the creation of the centre. It will generate 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 that the centre will attract considerable inward investment to the UK.

The Cell Therapy Catapult cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre will be the world’s first facility of its kind

'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.'

Keith Thompson, CEO, the Cell Therapy Catapult, said: '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.'