Growth in UK cell and gene therapy sector continues

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cell therapy

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) has published its ninth annual U.K. cell and gene therapy Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing report, showing continued growth in the advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP) UK manufacturing sector. 

This growth is across industry and academia, showing how the sector is responding to the operationalization and skills requirements needed to ensure increased and more rapid access to ATMP for both healthcare systems and patients.

Overall, U.K. manufacturing space has increased by 14%, in part driven by exceptional growth in Scotland and the north of England. There are now 29 facilities that form the overall capacity and capability for cell and gene therapy manufacturing within the U.K. Five new establishments are included in this year’s report: Symbiosis Pharmaceuticals, Adaptimmune, Charles River Labs (formerly Cobra Biologics), Advent Bioservices and Replimune. All five hold manufacturing and import authorization (MIA) for investigational medicinal products (IMPs).

The 2022 GMP Manufacturing report shows that average utilization of manufacturing capacity nationally is 67%, while regionally, London and the South-East have shown the most growth in utilization ( at 91% and 93% respectively), whilst the North-East and East are well-positioned for future expansion, having the most available capacity to meet the growing manufacturing needs of the sector (utilization currently at 30% and 48%, respectively). Overall, the number of ATMP assets being manufactured in the U.K. has again increased, up by31% this year, and there are currently 50 therapies being produced in the U.K., the majority for early-stage clinical trials (59%). 

Employment opportunities rising

The number of employees who have joined cell-therapy, gene-therapy and multi-functional facilities in 2022 has risen by 23% overall, with increases in full-time employees of 22% and part-time employees of 68%.

The number of new apprentices has increased by 46%, largely due to the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC), coordinated by the CGT Catapult, whose purpose is to create a ready supply of skilled talent ranging from manufacturing operatives to technical experts and researchers. CGT Catapult is also working with industry to develop a series of apprenticeship standards and continuing professional development programs that train and upskill individuals to develop, manufacture and deliver advanced therapies at scale.

Matthew Durdy, CEO of CGT Catapult, said: “We continue to see acceleration and expansion across the ATMP manufacturing ecosystem, meaning that more cell and gene therapies are becoming closer to being commercialized, as well as a rising importance of cell and gene therapy manufacturing to local and national economies. The significant expansion in manufacturing capacity is mirrored by the remarkable growth of the skilled workforce, driven by The Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community, which is designed to train and upskill individuals for this sector. The continuing positive development in these two areas will help to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of ATMP manufacture globally.”

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