Highlights from ISCT 2017

Read our highlights from the ISCT annual conference held in London in May 2017. 

Celebrating ISCT’s 25th anniversary

From 3-6 May the International Society for Cellular Therapy (ISCT) annual conference took place in London with Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult the main supporter of the 25th anniversary conference. Plenary sessions focussed on advances in immunotherapy with additional tracks on strategies for commercialisation, and quality and operations.




Jubilee celebrations began with the President’s Reception on 3 May where Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s Chief Business Officer, Matthew Durdy, was able to give the audience their first introduction to the vibrant UK cell and gene therapy industry, and the impressive growth it has seen in the last 5 years.

Hearing the latest thoughts from cell therapy developers

Over 250 speakers from around the world presented to the conference audience with a key theme from many of the plenary speakers being the importance of patients. Sessions covered the importance of maintaining the patient focus when industrialising cell therapies and some fantastic success stories including the journey to mitochondrial donation in which patients were key were presented.

Plenary sessions were recorded and will soon be available on the ISCT website.

The commercialisation track featured members of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult team. Dr Fungayi Chidothe, Senior Manager – Strategy and Planning, shared CGT Catapult’s experiences of building a cell therapy organisation and how CGT Catapult has managed talent management over a period where the organisation has seen fast growth and expansion to two sites.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Business Officer, discussed the value proposition that needs to be established for cell and gene therapy products, the challenges and emerging solutions for industrializing cell and gene therapy products and how the healthcare community is evolving to adopt cell and gene therapeutics.

In the last session of the conference Dr Stephen Ward, Chief Operating Officer, shared his views on the future of smart automation focussing, on the importance of analytical development and integration with the healthcare sector.

The presentations delivered by the CGT Catapult team are available to view here.

Presenting Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s work

A number of scientists involved in cell and gene therapy were invited to present their research at the conference. Some great work was presented in the areas of t-cells, cancer immunotherapy, MSCs and tissue engineering.

Over the two poster sessions nine members of the CGT Catapult industrialisation team were given a chance to showcase their work to the conference attendees.

The posters covered a wide variety of the projects the team at CGT Catapult are currently working on including developing potency assays, optimising manufacturing and implementing analytical technologies. Each of the posters presented are available to view here.

Lead Device & Delivery Scientist, Nick Gaddum’s abstract entitled "CFD Simulation of Small-Scale Single-use Stirred Tank Bioreactors; Comparisons and Perspectives" was selected for a Technologist Abstract Award which he was presented at the Gala Dinner.

Highlighting the strength of the UK industry

The ISCT Industry Networking Reception took place on 4 May in the impressive surroundings of the House of Commons. Speaking to a full room of almost 200 VIPs from the global cell therapy community, CEO Keith Thompson was able to highlight the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s support for ISCT and our commitment to the commercialisation of cell and gene therapies in the UK.

Keith followed Nicole Mather, Director for Office of Life Sciences, who expressed how proud she was that London had been chosen as host city for the event. She spoke about the importance to the UK of the regenerative medicine industry.

An evening of networking followed with the audience of leading figures from academia, regulatory bodies and industry partners enjoying the spectacular venue.

Connecting with existing and potential partners

With the global industry landing on the door step of CGT Catapult’s London office, we were able to catch up with existing collaborators as well as new potential partners. Organisations from as far as the USA and Asia visited the CGT Catapult office and R&D labs with a number of additional partnering meetings taking place.

Of course if you would like to meet members of the CGT Catapult team, there are many other opportunities, check out our events page to see where we will be next!