UK cell therapy GMP manufacturing capacity is increasing, finds survey

Number of facilities and highly skilled jobs rises

There has been a 25% increase in the number of highly skilled staff at cell therapy facilities in the UK, according to a new survey by The Cell Therapy Catapult.

The organisation's annual survey of the GMP licensed cell and gene manufacturing capability and capacity in the UK to April 2015, also revealed a 16% growth in the number of cleanrooms used for cell therapy manufacture, and reported the addition of two new cell therapy manufacturing centres (at the University of Birmingham, Cell Therapy Suite and the CCGTT centre at the Royal Free Hospital, London).

The report also highlights that capacity not already committed to manufacturing, has decreased from 45% to 26%, demonstrating that the expanded capacity is rapidly filling up. This is reflected in the Cell Therapy Catapult’s recently reported 24% rise in the number of clinical trials being carried out in the UK.

New to the 2015 review was the addition of three dedicated gene therapy centres (Cobra Biologics, Keele; Oxford Biomedica, Oxford; and NHSBT CBC Langford). Due to the important links between cell and gene therapies, further insight into gene therapy capability and capacity in the UK was documented in the review. A healthy gene therapy sector, driven primarily by commercial organisations, with the three dedicated centres employing 167 people, was identified.

This report demonstrates that the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry is not only in a healthy state, but also expanding

The survey gathers evidenced-based information to provide an overall picture on the capability and capacity of MHRA-licensed cell and gene therapy manufacture within the UK, and confirms that the UK manufacturing sector covers the sphere of current cell therapy manufacturing requirements and that the UK has a strong manufacturing base to facilitate the translation of early phase academic research into the clinic.

This is the second report undertaken by the Cell Therapy Catapult after a House of Lords Committee’s recommendation and the creation of the Regenerative Medicine Expert Group (RMEG) - an expert group formed for the development and delivery of Regenerative Medicines to the NHS.

Keith Thompson, Chief Executive of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said: 'This report clearly demonstrates that the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry is not only in a healthy state, but also expanding and creating high-value jobs. The UK is the place to do translational research and commercialise products for the benefit of patients and the Cell Therapy Catapult’s large-scale GMP manufacturing centre, coming on-stream in 2017, will provide a step change in available capacity.'

The full report, Cell Therapy GMP Manufacturing in the UK: Capability and Capacity Analysis, is available here.

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