The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult has announced plans to expand its Stevenage manufacturing centre to facilitate the growth and delivery scale required to bring to market the personalised medicines of the future.

A £2.9m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership will support the delivery of new analytical technologies to be used in the quality control of cell and gene therapies, supporting the centre’s SME collaborators to scale up their manufacturing processes for clinical trial and commercial supply.

Cell and gene therapies are becoming increasingly personalised, with treatments being developed and tailored for patients. Often these therapies also have a short shelf life, making the analytical technologies for quality control ever more complex. Combined with the exceptional growth seen in the industry, this increases the need for cutting-edge analytical quality control provision that is rapid, low footprint and cost efficient.

This funding is part of a wider £5.9m project to expand the capacity of the existing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) centre in Stevenage, opened in April 2018 and backed by over £60 million total investment, comprising sums from Government's Industrial Strategy Fund and from Innovate UK.

Paul Witcombe, Head of Enterprise and Innovation at Hertfordshire LEP, said: “This investment will help commercialise the development of potentially life-saving therapies and further strengthen Stevenage’s position at the heart of the UK’s life science industry. This is a prime example of how we are taking the Industrial Strategy forward by ensuring our globally significant cell and gene therapy cluster continues to go from strength to strength.”

Commenting on the funding award, Keith Thompson, CEO of CGT Catapult, said: “We have seen an immense growth in the cell and gene therapy industry, in the last year alone manufacturing space has increased by 60%. Manufacturing these new personalised Advanced Therapies at commercial scale, needs new high throughput analytical technology to ensure quality control does not create a hold-up in getting the therapies to patients.

“Through the development and delivery of new analytical technologies we will help ensure that cell and gene therapy developers are able to tailor, control and release their products rapidly and efficiently.”

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Visit the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult website for more information.