Centres of excellence tackling one of cell therapy industry’s major challenges
The Cell Therapy Catapult, which is focused on the development of the UK cell therapy industry to increase the nation’s health and wealth, and Loughborough University, where health is a key interdisciplinary research theme with regenerative medicine as a key pillar, have agreed to work together on innovative manufacturing. The two organisations will collaborate to develop robust processes and new manufacturing and delivery techniques, removing the barriers associated with turning cell-based therapies into products, and providing training and skills development.
Tackling some of the challenges associated with scale-up and manufacturing of cell therapies – such as ensuring reproducibility, purity, potency and efficacy – is a key objective for the CT Catapult. Working with the University’s Centre for Biological Engineering (CBE), a multidisciplinary research centre bridging the fields of engineering and biology, will enable it to make significant improvements to current knowledge and manufacturing effectiveness. As well as being a recognised expert in the manufacture and quality control of cells and tissues used in cell therapy, the CBE hosts the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Regenerative Medicine, and the EPSRC Doctoral Training Centre in Regenerative Medicine.
Keith Thompson, Chief Executive of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said, ‘We are delighted to be working with academic experts at the University on the techniques needed to turn small-scale cell therapies into robust products amenable to larger-scale manufacture. This is one of the fundamental translational gaps that the CT Catapult is working to bridge, providing the cell therapy industry with important advances, and the expertise available at the CBE will be invaluable for this task.’
David Williams, Professor of Healthcare Engineering at Loughborough University, said, ‘The Cell Therapy Catapult is playing an important role in making the UK cell therapy industry a world leader, and the University is pleased to establish this relationship. As new manufacturing technology is developed collaborations like this will help grow the sector and ensure that our research is informed by the needs of the industry, as well as providing training and employment, helping the University and the EPSRC meet many of their aims.’