The new centre – which will be built in Stevenage – is intended to provide small and medium sized developers with the capacity to manufacture therapies for clinical trials and commercial supply.
This week Cell Therapy Catapult announced it had selected Chippenham, UK-based M+W as the main contractor after a tendering process.
The contract specifications state the facility is likely to feature Grade B Clean Rooms – which are suitable for aseptic preparation and filling – as well and manufacturing and administration space.
The document also specifies that Cell Therapy Catapult invite a minimum of six engineering firms to bid for the work, stipulating that only companies that have had annual turnover of at least £50m a year for the past three years would be approached.
Cell Therapy Catapult did not respond when we asked which other engineering contractors had been approached.
Public cash for private enterprise
The aim is that the Stevenage site will be operational by the end of March 2017 and employ a full time staff of 150 people.
Plans for the facility were announced by UK chancellor George Osborne in his March 2014 budget. The idea is to provide smaller cell therapy developers with a way of producing their products for trials.
At the time, Osbourne justified his decision to use public money to support private sector developers – in a budget that also introduced public spending cuts – on the basis that a cell therapy sector would create jobs and attract investment.