Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult boost for life science campus


The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), an independent U.K. innovation and technology organization specializing in the advancement of cell and gene therapies, has announced its involvement in the development of a major new campus for life science businesses in Stevenage. 

The new campus was announced by UBS Asset Management’s Real Estate & Private Markets and Reef Group in July 2022. The company intends to invest £900 million in a joint venture to develop a new life sciences campus in Stevenage.

The new campus will be one of the largest of its kind in the U.K. and Europe, with the goal of meeting the growing demand from life sciences companies for commercial and laboratory space in the U.K

The Cell and Gene Therapy Captapult role

The CGT Captapult has already played a role in establishing the largest cell and gene therapy cluster in Europe in the U.K., centered on its Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MIC) in Stevenage.  The 7,700m2 MHRA licensed Stevenage MIC, which incorporates 12 segregated independent GMP cleanroom modules, was established in 2018. 

This latest agreement will ensure that the CGT Catapult remains within the Stevenage campus and also provides the potential for further expansion of its development, manufacturing and skills facilities to continue to drive innovation and growth in both the Stevenage cluster and the U.K. advanced therapy sector as a whole.   The development by UBS Asset Management and Reef will include an estimated 1.4 million square feet of laboratory and office facilities, which will potentially create up to 5,000 new jobs.

Growing advanced therapies sector

Matthew Durdy, chief executive of CGT Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the continued development of the leading life sciences cluster in Stevenage. This investment in the Stevenage cluster and the growing demand for lab space is testament to the rapidly growing advanced therapies (ATMP)-sector in the U.K., with more and more companies looking to work alongside other leading companies in Stevenage. We are excited that the CGT Catapult can continue to provide expertise and training to the ATMP industry through our continued presence at this site and look forward to working with UBS and Reef to bring the largest bioscience campus in Europe to life.”

Stephen Martin, site head, GSK Stevenage and VP, Biopharm Discovery, GSK said: “We’re extremely excited about the development of this exciting new campus in Stevenage and welcome the CGT Catapult’s involvement. The campus will add much-needed laboratory space and facilities for new companies to locate here, and further strengthen the U.K. life science ecosystem.

Reef Group chief executive Piers Slater added: “Both Reef, and our partners UBS Asset Management, are very excited and committed to the potential Stevenage has, as an established Life Science location at the center of the UK’s Golden Triangle.  This is demonstrated by our proposed town center scheme delivering in excess of 500,000 square feet of advanced manufacturing facilities for cell and gene therapy anchored by Autolus, and our plans to deliver a further 1.2 million square feet of Life Science accommodation alongside the CGT Catapult, Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC) and GSK.”

Olivia Drew, portfolio manager, UK Life Sciences at UBS Asset Management, said: “The incredible work that CGT Catapult has done to-date has established Stevenage as a unique and globally recognised Life Sciences cluster. We look forward to continuing to collaborate [with CGT Catapult and SBC] on developing Stevenage as Europe’s preferred location for innovation and advanced manufacturing in cell and gene therapies.”

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