New projects aim to improve environmental sustainability of the cell and gene therapy industry

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) is working with the Innovation Launchpad Network+ on two projects that aim to assess and reduce the environmental impact of the advanced therapies industry.

As the cell and gene therapy industry continues to grow, the amount of materials and energy it uses is increasing. For the industry to lessen its impact on the environment, there is a need to find more energy efficient processes and new approaches or technologies to dispose of waste.

Through two new projects, facilitated by the Innovation Launchpad Network+ Researchers in Residence scheme, the CGT Catapult will work with leading sustainability academics to increase understanding of how the industry could reduce its environmental impact.

One of the projects is with Dr Alejandro Sanchez Monsalve, an expert in material sustainability at the University of Bath. The project aims to develop a concept that would allow for waste plastic that has been used by the cell and gene therapy industry to be recycled. This waste is currently incinerated or sent to landfill. Dr Sanchez aims to identify technologies that could be used to recycle this waste on a large scale.

The second project is with Dr Laurence Stamford, an expert in sustainable chemical engineering at the University of Manchester. In this project, the team will identify the environmental impact of the adeno-associated virus (AAV) production process. They will analyse two production processes, a 50 litre batch production and a small scale process. The findings will help the CGT Catapult identify potential ways to reduce the environmental impact of an industry standard AAV production process as well as allow it to advise its collaborators on how to improve their processes.

With the climate crisis ongoing, it is important that all industries, including the advanced therapies sector, find innovative ways to operate in a more environmentally friendly way. By working with leading sustainability academics, we aim to increase our understanding of how the development and production of therapies could be more sustainable. We will be sharing our findings with the sector, as we hope that the knowledge gathered will support other organisations in their efforts to become more sustainable.

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult