New data shows promising cell and gene therapy industry across the UK  

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) has published new data in their 2021 Cell and Gene Therapy GMP manufacturing report and 2021 UK cell and gene therapy skills demand report. These reports highlight the continued growth across the UK’s Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) manufacturing capacity and strong demand for highly skilled personnel throughout the UK cell and gene therapy industry. 

What do the reports say… 

… About industry growth? 

The reports indicate that during 2021, the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry has grown at a remarkable pace, despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, emphasising the success in creating further job opportunities, stimulated by the targeted investment in the sector by government.  

This impressive growth is embodied by the fact that the demand for skilled personnel in the UK cell and gene therapy industry has already exceeded expectations for 2024, with nearly 7,000 staff employed across the UK, up from 3,000 in 2019, and new forecasts anticipating employment more than doubling again by the year 2026.  

… About manufacturing space? 

Manufacturing space for cell and gene therapies has increased at a remarkable rate with a 25% increase over the past year, primarily seen in Scotland and Northern England. A 10% increase in dedicated cleanroom space has been fuelled by expansion of RoslinCT, an Edinburgh-based, Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO), the opening of NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSTB) Barnsley, and expansion of NHSTB Filton. The overall growth across the UK is occurring primarily due to the expansion of existing sites instead of the construction and approval of newly licensed manufacturing facilities, which remain constant at 26. 

… About programme expansion? 

Expansion of already available skills programmes to offer clear and visible routes to attract, train and retain highly skilled talent remains a priority. The growing skills demand in the UK cell and gene therapy industry has been met in part by the successful Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) programme, driven by industry and coordinated by the CGT Catapult since 2018.  

According to this new data, 58% of respondents to the 2021 Skills Demand Survey indicated that they are actively engaged with the programme with further companies aiming to join the programme over the next few years. Despite the impressive efforts to meet this growing demand, one of the most significant challenges to the UK cell and gene therapy industry remains finding and retaining the skilled personnel urgently needed to enable growth within the sector and for the UK to remain a global leader in advanced medicine manufacturing. 

Official comments 

Richard Hebdon, Director of Health and Life Sciences at Innovate UK, said: “The growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry in the last year has exceeded our expectations. It is fantastic to see the progress in manufacturing cell and gene therapies and job creation across the UK, as part of the Government’s levelling up agenda. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and its initiatives in upskilling and driving manufacturing innovation has had a vital role in this growth and we look forward to continue supporting the UK to remain a leader in advanced therapy manufacturing.”  

Matthew Durdy, CEO of CGT Catapult, said: “The number of jobs in the industry has far exceeded expectations, which is a testament to the success of investments in the sector. We look forward to continuing to work with industry, with the support of Innovate UK and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to develop further both the ATAC and Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) to address this growth in the UK cell and gene therapy industry. The data shown here today showcases the UK as the place of choice for ATMP activity, however, it needs further investment in upskilling the workforce of tomorrow, to help the UK meet the future demands of the industry.” 

The full GMP Manufacturing Report and Skills Demand Survey Report can be read on ct.catapult.org.uk/manufacturing-surveys 

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