M+W contracted to build cell therapy facility by UK Government

By Gareth Macdonald contact

- Last updated on GMT

Cell Therapy Catapult HQ at Guy's Hospital in London
Cell Therapy Catapult HQ at Guy's Hospital in London

Related tags: Cell therapy catapult, Cell therapy

M+W has been contracted to build a £55m ($84m) manufacturing site that will support cell and gene therapy developers by the UK Government project, Cell Therapy Catapult.

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.

Cell Therapy Catapult received planning approval for the 7,200m2 ​plant in August​ when Stevenage Borough Council predicted​ the facility would "generate £1.2bn of revenue by 2020​."

Tender

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.

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