Health Minister visits Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult ahead of Life Sciences Council Meeting at 10 Downing Street

28th November 2022 - The Minister of State at the Department of Health and Social Care, Will Quince MP, today visited the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) at their Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MIC) in Stevenage. He was joined by Chief Executive, Matthew Durdy and Chief Manufacturing Officer, Dr Stephen Ward, and got to experience first-hand the world class facilities that have been developed there.

CGT Catapult launched the centre in 2018, receiving £75m of government funding mainly channelled through Innovate UK, and since operations commenced, UK-based MIC collaborators have raised over £1.6bn of funding to progress their development of advanced therapies (21 times the Government investment), while the wider Stevenage Bioscience cluster has attracted a total investment of £3.4bn.

The UK Life Sciences manufacturing sector is expected to be a key driver of levelling-up through its economic potential and platform for high-skill/high-value jobs. It is also vital for the nation’s health resilience – COVID showed the risk involved when countries put up barriers or when supply chains are stretched, and while the UK has many strengths and early advantages in the sector, competition to land investments for commercial scale cell and gene therapy manufacturing has never been fiercer across the globe. Recent government interventions – such as the £60m grant from the Life Sciences Innovative Manufacturing Fund (LSIMF) – have been an important signal to this global market and can make a crucial difference to the UK economy and levelling up. The targeted investment in Stevenage means that it now rivals Oxford, Cambridge and London for equity investments in biotechnology.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of CGT Catapult, said:

“We welcomed today’s visit from the Minister of State at the DHSC. The Stevenage Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult operation in Stevenage is the product of far-sighted Government intervention and represents a commitment to building a thriving industry and delivering life-changing advanced therapies to the world. At the same time, it helps to drive the local talent pipeline, and consolidates Stevenage MIC as a global hub for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) manufacture. These ATMPs, which can transform healthcare systems and costs over time, are already proven in rare disease, and will eventually provide the same hope in higher prevalence disease, offering patients the opportunity to receive curative treatments.”