Surge in cell and gene therapy trials highlight the UK’s leading position as developmental hub in this innovative industry

Published: 7-Jan-2019

Global industry shows confidence in cell and gene therapies and in UK’s ability to deliver these life-changing products

New research published today by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult indicates that the UK pipeline of advanced therapy medicinal products continues to go from strength to strength.

Currently there are 85 clinical trials and 875 preclinical research projects in cell and gene therapies ongoing, representing a 37% and 20% increase year-on-year respectively.

Growth has been driven by increased investment from commercial sponsors as the life science industry becomes increasingly confident in the potential of cell and gene therapies, and in the UK as a place to develop and manufacture them.

With funding of more than £70 million provided by the UK government Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the UK’s advanced therapy ecosystem was strengthened in 2018 by two key developments: the opening of CGT Catapult’s unique cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre in Stevenage has created the infrastructure needed to produce advanced therapies at scale; and the formation of a network of Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres designed to help ensure the benefits of the innovation taking place in the UK reaches patients in the NHS.

These investments are creating a supportive pathway for advanced therapies in the UK from early-stage research to commercialisation, with the fastest growth coming in gene therapies.

Since 2017 the proportion of cell and gene clinical trials in the UK utilising gene modified therapies has increased to 73%, from 47%. This includes a significant number progressing to Phase III, the final stage of clinical development.

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Keith Thompson, CEO of The CGT Catapult, commented: “The UK is fast becoming the premier hub for advanced therapy research and development. We are building the world’s most complete advanced therapies ecosystem. As the number of clinical trials has accelerated, the UK has made a determined effort to scale-up its research and manufacturing infrastructure to ensure this rich pipeline can continue to advance and grow."

"With the recent establishment of the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network and the CGT Catapult’s Manufacturing Centre, therapy developers can be confident that the UK has the expertise and capacity to support their clinical progress – and ultimately to help cell and gene therapies reach patients.”

Andy Jones, Challenge Director - Medicines Manufacturing, at Innovate UK, said: “Support for the UK’s world-beating life sciences sector is a central component of government’s modern industrial strategy. We are already seeing great progress with the formation of the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres network and the opening of the CGT Catapult’s cell and gene therapy manufacturing centre."

"These will all address major healthcare challenges and help build the jobs and industries of tomorrow.”

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