UK cell and gene manufacturing employment increases by 30%

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/marchmeena29)
(Image: Getty/marchmeena29)

Related tags: Gene therapy, cell and gene therapy, Cell and gene therapy catapult, Manufacturing, facility, Viral vector

CGT Catapult reports that employment has increased substantially, and production capacity has grown by 60% in the UK cell and gene therapy manufacturing industry.

Catapult Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT Catapult) released its annual report​ regarding its activity over the course of the year and the overall development of the cell and gene space.

In August 2018, the CGT Catapult’s manufacturing centre was given two licenses from the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for clinical and commercial supply. Since that time, five companies are now manufacturing materials at the centre.

The centre contains good manufacturing practice (GMP) warehousing, quality systems, quality control provision, supply chain and health care provider links. The site provides employment to 100 people, with 3,000 people employed in the wider Stevenage life science cluster, where the CGT Catapult manufacturing centre is based.

In its report, the CGT Catapult identified that employment in the cell and gene therapy manufacturing sector has grown by 30%.

In an interview with BioPharma-Reporter, Keith Thompson, CEO of the CGT Catapult, told us of the future growth he expects to see in the future.

“What we expect is that factories will need to be built of the same size, or bigger, than our current facility in Stevenage, as the industry outgrows either our facility or their existing space,”​ he outlined.

The organization is already working proactively to expand to meet demand, with six further cleanroom modules expected to be completed by the end of 2019.

Meeting viral vector demand

The report notes that 65% of cell and gene therapies in clinical trials are currently using viral vectors to modify cells. As a result, demand for the supply of viral vectors continues to increase, which led the CGT Catapult to establish a dedicated viral vector laboratory in 2016.

Looking to the future of production, the CGT Catapult also partnered with Cobra Biologics and Pall Corporation to investigate the continuous production of adeno-associated virus. The aim being to produce the viral vectors at lower cost with higher yield.

“The go-ahead to make cell and gene therapies that could ultimately save lives is a great boost for the area, but also shines a light on the whole of the UK as an attractive place for this innovative industry to thrive. This project supports the ambition of our modern Industrial Strategy to maintain the UK’s standing as a world leader in research and innovation,”​ said Oliver Eden, life sciences minister.

The report estimated how many patients in the UK could eventually benefit from the development of cell and gene therapies. In 2019, there are 100s of patients currently receiving such treatments, but this is expected to grow to in excess of 10,000 by 2028.

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