Cell and gene therapies are at the very cutting-edge of medical research and the creation of the Cell Therapy Catapult’s state-of-the-art £55 million manufacturing centre at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst, will help Britain be a real leader in this fast developing industry.
Subject to planning approval, the large-scale, good manufacturing practice (GMP) facility will create up to 150 jobs and will be at the focus of a cluster of related companies creating many more jobs. It will bring additional inward investment from global companies, as well support the SME biotech and life sciences companies based in the UK. Although it was only established in 2012, the Cell Therapy Catapult has become a centre for excellence to bridge the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation, and help accelerate the growth of the cell and gene therapy industry in the UK.
Regenerative medicine, of which cell therapy is a part, is one of the UK government’s eight great technologies that support UK science strengths and business capabilities. The Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre is a unique global business proposition based in the UK that will provide national and international developers with a stepping-stone into the EU, US and other growing international markets. Building a cluster of excellence in cell and gene therapies at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is a prime objective, and start-ups such as Plasticell, Progenitor Labs, Tokyo Electron Europe and Trakcel, as well GE Healthcare, which has a technology lab based there, demonstrate they’re on track.
GSK is also a neighbour and the Cell Therapy Catapult is another welcome addition to this growing family of innovative companies. The site provides a unique and thriving bioscience community with the benefit of excellent UK and international logistics. Companies coming to the Cell Therapy Catapult’s manufacturing centre will also be able to access its expertise, networks and scientific facilities traditionally associated with multinational pharmaceutical companies. Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult said: “This centre demonstrates the investment the UK government is making to advance the industry into becoming a world leader in advanced therapy development and commercialisation. The manufacturing centre will complement the existing UK capability, enabling companies to operate at the scale needed for Phase III clinical trials, and we look forward to working with global scientific and medical communities to assist in their research into products that have the potential to address many unmet medical needs.”
Dr Martino Picardo, CEO of Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst said: “The UK cell therapy industry has huge potential, and investments such as this will allow the sector to progress from a strong R&D base to the manufacture of commercial stage products. For the Stevenage campus, this is another milestone in enabling it to become a landing pad in Europe for cell therapy and other disruptive technology companies. We look forward to welcoming other like-minded activities to the Campus.”
In its 2013 annual survey of Good Manufacturing Practice, the Cell Therapy Catapult identified Manufacturing and Supply Chain as one of the barriers to the translation of research into commercially viable products. The UK is strongly positioned for early clinical phase manufacturing and the large-scale GMP manufacturing centre will help in growing a UK- based global industry. The centre and its associated cluster, will enable companies to develop the systems and supply chain that allow their manufacturing processes to operate at scale. In addition it will be operationally very efficient, enabling the growth of organisations by reducing or spreading the costs and risks of establishing and running a specialist manufacturing facility between up to 12 firms simultaneously in the 7200m2 securely segregated space. The innovative design is being developed in close relationship with the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The carefully designed and market tested concept will help accelerate global expansion opportunities by reducing cost and increasing speed of growth using a flexible, replicable clean-room design which can accommodate multiple processing methodologies, including viral vectors, stem cells and tissue engineering. All customers will have access to the Cell Therapy Catapult’s world-leading services, including regulatory advice and health economics analysis, as required, whilst maintaining confidentiality and control over their own process, in-house knowledge and IP. For rapidly growing companies and inward investors, the wide range of expertise available from both the Cell Therapy Catapult and the Stevenage Biocatalyst, places the location in an enviable position in the world.
“This centre demonstrates the investment the UK government is making to advance the industry into becoming a world leader in advanced therapy development and commercialisation. The manufacturing centre will complement the existing UK capability, enabling companies to operate at the scale needed for Phase III clinical trials, and we look forward to working with global scientific and medical communities to assist in their research into products that have the potential to address many unmet medical needs.”
Keith Thompson CEO of Cell Therapy Catapult