Press release: New data from Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult report shows move towards commercialisation and 48% increase in GMP manufacturing space despite COVID-19 pandemic

Most significant increases in expansion of gene therapy and viral vector manufacturing spaces.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today released new data in their 2020 Cell and gene therapy GMP manufacturing in the UK: capability and capacity analysis report, which shows progress of the industry towards commercialisation of therapies with further growth across a number of indicators including facilities, manufacturing space, and personnel. This year’s growth is particularly noteworthy given the effect the COVID-19 pandemic has had across the entire UK economy.

The numbers indicate that the industry is maturing at a promising rate, reflected in company expansions as seen in Oxford BioMedica which has added their third facility, Oxbox and the expansion of Cobra Biologics. Commercially-owned spaces are making significant increases across the country, with 10 companies now delivering their own GMP pipelines. 96% of the gene therapy space is commercially-owned, signalling that the industry is maturing and developing a healthy economy.

The growth is occurring chiefly in the expansion of existing sites rather than an increase in new MHRA licensed facilities, which has remained at 26. The expansions of Oxford BioMedica and Cobra Biologics, as well as the six additional cleanrooms for companies to manufacture their own products at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult facility in Stevenage, are the main contributors to the 48% increase in manufacturing space, which has risen from 7,970m2 to 11,756m2. Numbers of skilled staff have followed suit with 1,310 full-time personnel reported this year, demonstrating a 15% increase compared to 2019.

Andy Jones, Director of Medicines Manufacturing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund at Innovate UK commented:

It is very pleasing to see the support Innovate UK has provided to the Advanced Therapies sector being built on by industry and the CGT Catapult who continue to work together to create economic growth, increase employment and help bring amazingly innovative medicines to patients.

Matthew Durdy, CEO at CGT Catapult said:

We can see a clear progress of gene and cell therapies towards commercialisation and the consequent growth in GMP manufacturing space to support this. Today’s data shows how this industry is set to increase even further with more GMP manufacturing space needed to address the demand, and we look forward to continue working with industry to facilitate this.

As well as giving a snapshot of the current state of UK GMP manufacturing, the survey also highlights a positive outlook for the future of the industry. Demand is outstripping supply with both cell and gene therapy facilities operating at a national average of 86% utilisation, yet further capacity is being developed with over 700m2 of additional total footprints expected to be licensed during the next 12 months. As major investments in facilities and manufacturing capacity continue, the sector anticipates a significant increase in the number of highly skilled jobs required to service the industry in the coming years.

To read the complete manufacturing survey go to ct.catapult.org.uk/manufacturing-surveys.

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