In a huge economic boost to the region Stevenage has been chosen as the site for a £55 million state-of-the-art manufacturing centre which will help lead the global fight against life-threatening diseases.

Cell Therapy Catapult (CTC) has chosen to build its manufacturing centre on the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst campus, and is expected to create up to 150 jobs, generate £1.2bn of revenue by 2020 and drive economic growth in the county.

Hertfordshire LEP is delighted to have played a key role in helping to secure this investment for Stevenage after offering infrastructure support to realise this project.

Martino Picardo, CEO of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst said: “We at SBC have been delighted with the pivotal support provided by John Gourd and the Herts LEP Board. We have been working extremely well with the LEP Executive, through Neil Hayes and Paul Witcombe, on our overall Masterplan for the Stevenage site, which is now well on the way to becoming a world class campus for open innovation and the development of new therapies. The campus will place Hertfordshire at the heart of the golden triangle for life sciences in the UK.”

Hertfordshire LEP Board Chair John Gourd said: “We are already committed to providing £3m to the further development of the Catalyst site and this project will significantly complement, enhance and accelerate that development. It will mark a significant leap forward in the on-going development of Catalyst’s Open Innovation Science Park and will consolidate Stevenage’s position at the centre of the Cambridge to London life-sciences cluster.”

The large-scale manufacturing facility is also expected to provide additional inward investment from global pharma companies such as GSK in Stevenage, as well support the SME biotech and life sciences industry.

Welcoming the announcement Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “This therapy is at the very cutting edge of medical research, and is using our own cells in the fight against life-threatening diseases including cancer. This state-of-the-art facility in Stevenage will ensure Britain can be a real leader in this industry.”

The UK Cell Therapy Manufacturing Centre, which is expected to open in 2017, will be managed by the Cell Therapy Catapult and will manufacture the late phase clinical trial and commercial supply of advanced therapeutic medicinal products including cell and gene therapies. Cell therapy involves introducing cells into the body that will grow and replace damaged tissue.

Business Secretary Vince Cable and Keith Thompson, chief executive of the Cell Therapy Catapult, (pictured above) have welcomed the plans.