Braintree MP visits Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult facility

Braintree MP visits Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult facility

Braintree, UK – 15 June 2022 – The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP, Member of Parliament for Braintree, and Minister of State in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office visited the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s (CGT Catapult) Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MIC) in Braintree, Essex last week (10 June) to see how the new facility will contribute to accelerating innovation in the development of advanced therapies and support levelling up in the local area.

In 2020, as part of the pandemic response, the Government announced a £127m investment to fund this world-class manufacturing innovation facility to secure the UK’s capability in handling future pandemics and enabling the development and production of potentially life changing cell and gene therapies for patients around the world.

Mr. Cleverly’s visit to the facility began with an introduction to the Centre’s MIC’s leadership, including Matthew Durdy, CGT Catapult Chief Executive Officer and Dr Stephen Ward, Chief Manufacturing Officer, who briefed Mr. Cleverly on the extensive work that has been done to upgrade the site to deliver a high level of innovation flexibility. Initially the Centre was adapted for COVID-19 pandemic vaccine manufacture in partnership with the UK Vaccine Manufacturing Taskforce, and latterly for driving innovation in the manufacture of advanced therapies.

As an advanced therapy manufacturing facility, the MIC sits within the UK’s cell and gene therapy cluster, the third largest cluster of its kind in the world. The MIC will be at the forefront of the growing UK cell and gene therapy industry and will help to develop cutting-edge therapies to treat life-changing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Mr. Cleverly was also given a tour of the MIC, where he was shown the new high-specification, controlled-environment production areas and cutting-edge technologies that will allow advanced therapy developers to make best use of the site’s capabilities and expertise accelerating the delivery of the transformational treatments to patients.

The MIC site will also play a vital role in levelling up the local area through the creation of 200 highly skilled jobs. Having acquired the site from its former owner, CGT Catapult brought on the majority of the facility’s 70 staff members, and now employs over 100 people in skilled roles, the majority of whom live locally. Under current plans, this number will continue to grow in the coming months, including increasing the number of apprentices utilising the flag ship Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC) programme, coordinated by the CGT Catapult.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said:

Even before it is fully operational, the Braintree Manufacturing Innovation Centre is already one of the most advanced facilities for manufacturing advanced therapies in Europe, and is set to become a hugely attractive venue for our collaborators over the next year.

Today’s visit was a welcome opportunity for our Braintree team to show how this new centre will play a critical role in driving local growth and job creation in Braintree, as its sister facility in Stevenage, Hertfordshire has done for the community there.

About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult was established as an independent centre of excellence to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation. With more than 330 employees focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, it works with partners in academia and industry to ensure these life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world. It offers leading-edge capability, technology and innovation to enable companies to take products into clinical trials and provide clinical, process development, manufacturing, regulatory, health economics and market access expertise. Its aim is to make the UK the most compelling and logical choice for UK and international partners to develop and commercialise these advanced therapies. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK.

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