The UK’s Cell and Gene Catapult (CGT Catapult) completed six additional production modules in a bid for the UK to remain competitive in the booming cell and gene therapy drug development business. The first six clean room at capacity due to high demand at the Stevenage center.
The CGT Catapult UK has been fully operational since April 2018 with MHRA licensure accomplished August 2018. Generally, each module (clean manufacturing room) can accommodate 20 parallel autologous cell processes or a bioreactor process up to 1,000L bioreactors for allogeneic cell or viral vector manufacture. The first collaborators are expected to start benefiting from the new space by early 2020.
The CGT Catapult UK is financially backed by over £75 financing from the UK Government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; the department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy; Innovate UK—the UK’s innovation agency—and the European Regional Development Fund.
It was awarded an additional £3.36 in funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and £12 million from the Medicines Manufacturing Industrial Strategy Fund to support expansion.
UK becomes a Gene and Cell Therapy Hub
The center was set up and financed to offer cell and gene therapy companies the infrastructure and expertise to support manufacturing capabilities and systems for large-scale commercial cell and gene therapy supply. Present companies collaborating with the site include Adaptimmune, Autolus, Cell Medica, Freeline Therapeutics, and TCR2 Therapeutics. It is located within the rapidly growing European cell and gene therapy cluster in Stevenage, the manufacturing center, alongside other CGT Catapult initiatives reports CGT Catapult—reinforcing the UK Government’s mission to support the rapidly expanding cell and gene therapy industry in the United Kingdom.
Impact and KPIs
The CGT Catapult has produced impressive results for the UK life science economy. They report that there are 64 ATMP (advanced therapy medicinal products) developers in the UK compared to 22 when the Catapult first launched—the growth in ATMP developers has been 190%. There are 59 active clinical trials using this form of manufactured product compared to 21 in 2012. Over 1000 jobs in this field are now published compared to 540 in 2012.
CEO Keith Thompson has spearheaded the impressive effort of assembling a team of 180 cell therapy experts to support state-of-the-art laboratories in London and the unique large-scale manufacturing center in Stevenage. He established the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult in 2012. Prior to this position, Keith was the Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service where he focused on modernizing the blood supply from vein-to-vein while expanding that organization into cell therapy. Before that, he held various positions at commercial biotech companies. He presently Director of the UK Bio Industry, a Director of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine and serves on the ISCT Strategic Advisory Council.
Call to Action: Are you a drug development company focusing on advanced therapy medicinal product and looking to expand in the UK and Europe? It makes sense to take a look at the Catapult.