Leading industry surveys demonstrate continued growth in the UK’s cell and gene therapy sector

London, United Kingdom, Wednesday 29 November 2023: The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), an independent innovation and technology organisation specialising in the advancement of cell and gene therapies, has today published two industry reports based on market assessments and surveys with the findings demonstrating sustained and continued growth in the UK’s advanced therapy and bioprocessing industries over the past several years.

Firstly, findings from The Cell and Gene Therapy Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Reportdemonstrate an increased number of manufacturing organisations in the UK.[1]Over 114 developmental therapies are produced for pre-commercial trials, and products are exported around the world, with the USA and EU being the most common destinations. The industry has continued to spread across more regions and bring economic benefit to more areas, with a new site in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Secondly, The Cell and Gene Therapy UK Skills Demand Report’ shows the continued resilience of the advanced therapies industry, with the industry workforce in the UK having doubled over the past four years, from 3,033 roles in 2019 to 6,232 roles in 2023.[2] Looking ahead, according to the report, the workforce is anticipated to increase by a further 63% by 2028 as the industry continues to expand.

The reports also confirm that there is a strong pipeline of future growth in the advanced therapies industry, with various organisations including Autolus, Touchlight, eXmoor pharma, Pharmaron, Fujifilm Diosynth, Charles River Laboratories and Synbiosis working on expansions or new facilities. Against the backdrop of a challenging global economic landscape, this pipeline indicates that there is continued confidence in the UK as a supportive environment to set up and expand advanced therapy manufacturing.

With the process of establishing a manufacturing facility and receiving licensure being lengthy and resource-intensive, the CGT Catapult believes that this continuing investment is vital to supporting the future of the industry and ensuring that there will be sufficient manufacturing capacity to meet demand to manufacture products for clinical trials and commercial use in the years to come.

Looking ahead, the skills report includes recommendations from industry which should help ensure that continued sector growth is not restricted by a future shortfall in skilled talent but instead has further positive impact on the economy and wider healthcare system. These include: increasing awareness of the career paths available in the advanced therapies industry; introducing training programmes to reduce the time taken for graduates to be able to work in an industry setting; enhancing existing skills and training programmes; and reducing the barriers to accessing international talent.

The ability to meet future demand through manufacturing high quality products at scale is one of the key conditions for a thriving cell and gene therapy industry in the UK. These reports demonstrate the strength of the UK’s manufacturing capacity and the continued demand for a skilled workforce. It is essential that these two factors, capacity and workforce, continue to grow in order to meet future manufacturing demand. At the CGT Catapult, we are committed to supporting the advanced therapies industry to meet these manufacturing needs and as it develops and delivers even more advanced therapies to patients.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the CGT Catapult

[1] The Cell and Gene Therapy UK Skills Demand Report is a biennial report that identifies the current levels of employment in the advanced therapies and bioprocessing industries across a range of roles. The report also captures the anticipated levels of employment for the next five years.

[2] The Cell and Gene Therapy Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Report is an annual report based on a survey that is carried out amongst MHRA MIA (IMP) and MIA licenced facilities with either manufacturing or testing operations in the UK.