CGT Catapult’s creating opportunities in UK cell and gene therapy 

The Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult has today published its Annual Review 2021, highlighting its key initiatives and impact in creating opportunities and investment in the UK cell and gene therapy industry. 

2021 has reportedly emphasised the strength of the UK cell and gene therapy industry which experienced significant expansion despite the Covid-19 pandemic. The UK has demonstrated its capacity to set up advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP) activities, with 29% of European ATMP companies operating in the UK. 

CGT Catapult has collaborated with 25 universities and research institutes and 88 companies, including seven at the CGT Catapult Stevenage facility, which forms part of the largest cell and gene therapy cluster outside of the US. The CGT Catapult Stevenage’s operational and collaborative model has leveraged eleven times the initial investment from Innovate UK, resulting in £850 million of investment into collaborators and the facility, attracting national, international and large pharmaceutical companies to the site. 

The CGT Catapult has also strengthened the skilled workforce in the UK by up-skilling 3,800 people through their programmes with industry including the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN), Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) and the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (ATTC) network. The ATTC network has had a significant impact, delivering institutional readiness, up-skilling NHS staff, and driving clinical adoption also through the 60 plus companies of the industry advisory group. 

A key development in 2021 was the establishment of the 4,627m2 manufacturing innovation facility in Braintree, Essex. The new Manufacturing Innovation Centre, due to be fully operational by December 2021, was funded by a grant from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in order to establish a flexible facility to progress manufacturing innovation technologies for advanced therapies and support national requirements for manufacturing and preparedness for possible future pandemics. 

Richard Hebdon, Director of Health and Life Sciences at Innovate UK, commented: “Whilst the world has been convulsed by Covid-19 in 2021, the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult has gone from strength to strength – clearly demonstrating the value of science and innovation. In the last year it has forged many more partnerships, grown its facilities and invested in skills and people. Innovate UK is proud to support the Catapult’s vital mission and its shared goal of making the UK a leader in this sector”. 

Matthew Durdy, CEO of CGT Catapult, said: “The past year has highlighted the CGT Catapult’s growing, positive impact across the UK cell and gene therapy sector, which has gone from strength to strength despite the Covid-19 pandemic. With the continued support from Government channelled through Innovate UK, the UK remains the place for ATMP development and manufacture, as evidenced by continued international investment and partnerships with the CGT Catapult and our collaborators.” 

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