UK’s cell and gene therapy industry going from strength to strength

Amicus and Penn expand gene therapy collaboration
Credit: Sergey Nivens

The UK’s cell and gene therapy industry is going from strength to strength, with investment boosting manufacturing space and jobs over the last year.

This was the main take-away from new research from the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult.

It found that, since November 2017, the UK has seen a 60% increase in manufacturing space for cell and gene therapies licensed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and meeting Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

This increase has been partly driven by the opening in April of the CGT Catapult’s GMP manufacturing centre in Stevenage, in addition to expansion of facilities of Cobra Biologics and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

The research also reveals that utilisation of capacity is running at 81% compared with 77% for 2017. The continuing high utilisation of these centres is indicative of a continuously increasing demand for cell and gene therapy services and infrastructure driven by the rapidly evolving pipeline of advanced therapies.

In addition to Investigational Medicinal Product licences (IMPs), two have commercial licenses, demonstrating that the UK is well placed to service the exciting and growing cell and gene therapy pipeline, strengthening its global position in this complex and technically challenging area.

The UK sector has an extremely positive outlook with a further 1,500m2 of cleanroom space scheduled to come online before the end of 2019, taking the total cleanroom footprint to ~8,000m2.

Marking an increase of 30% in employment over last year, the data in the report shows that over 500 people are currently employed in manufacturing by 21 organisations operating across multiple sites and this number can be anticipated to grow significantly in line with the growth of the industry and the number of therapies reaching commercialisation.

Keith Thompson, CGT CEO, said: “This is the fifth year that we have conducted our annual survey and every year I am delighted by the results and growth we are seeing in the cell and gene therapy industry here in the UK.

“This year’s 60% increase in manufacturing space and 30% growth in jobs is a sign of a burgeoning UK industry that is investing in scaling up to become a global destination for ATMP manufacturing and development.

“With the continuing investment by UK Research an Innovation in initiatives such as the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres Network, and the new apprenticeship programme alongside the investment made by industry, the UK has built and Advanced Therapy Ecosystem second to none becoming the first place outside of the US where a CAR-T therapy could be approved and adopted by the National Health Service.”