The new fund will make £3.7m ($4.4m) available to companies that are developing new technology to aid in the commercial production of advanced therapies, including gene therapy and engineered tissue or cell therapy.
The businesses eligible for investment must use external technology to ‘improve process mechanization’ that will support newly developed advanced therapies. In order for a project to be considered for funding, the technology must demonstrate how it will “increase productivity, competitiveness, capability or growth.”
This investment is part of a wider £181m investment by the UK government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) Leading-edge Healthcare Challenge that aims to accelerate the development of advanced therapies.
The overall investment is focused on four areas: digital health technology, advanced therapies treatment centers, viral vector production and medicine manufacturing funding, with the latter being the umbrella under which this most recent funding is included.
The UK government’s funding for advanced therapies comes as the country’s biotech scene is experiencing a boom, with investment rising year-on-year.
With an increased focus on advanced therapies, such as cell and gene therapies, this has seen a corresponding push for the UK sector to increase its capabilities – particularly in regard to manufacturing.
In a recent report, UK government-funded Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult revealed that employment in production of such therapies increased by 30% between 2017 and 2018.