The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT) made the prediction this week, citing the three gene therapy facilities and one cell therapy plant built in the UK since 2013 as an indication of an emerging long-term trend.
COO Stephen Ward told us “the increase in capacity is a positive trend that reflects the support provided by the UK Government” citing the biomanufacturing facility recently opened by Oxford Biomedica as an example.
“The facility will supply Novartis with viral vectors for its candidate products” he said, adding that “because it is hard to move production once it has begun, the site is also likely to play a role in commercial production.”
CGT has examined UK manufacturing capacity annually since 2013 following a recommendation by the UK government House of Lords 2013-14 Regenerative Medicine report.
The CGT research also showed that the UK’s clean room footprint increased 9% and the number of people employed by cell and gene therapy manufacturers grew 20% - from 324 to 391 – between 2014 and 2015.
In addition, while Cambridge is still the hub of cell and gene therapy production, the authors also highlighted the fact the new capacity has been set up in London, Glasgow, Oxford and Birmingham in 2016 as positive sign of growth.
Tech and capacity
CGT is an Innovate UK funded organisation tasked with fostering UK cell and gene production.
Part of this is through the development of technologies. In January for example it partnered with Synpromics to develop a low cost means of making viral vectors for gene therapy delivery
Another of CGT’s roles is to provide firms with space to develop cell and gene therapy production processes. The organisation is building a large-scale production facility in Stevenage to support commercial production.