Press release: Hertfordshire LEP to part-fund state-of-the-art cell and gene therapy training centre to strengthen the sector’s skills pipeline

The new cell and gene therapy integration laboratory in Stevenage will receive over £3m from Hertfordshire LEP’s Getting Building Fund allocation.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) announce today that a new cell and gene therapy integration laboratory at the CGT Catapult facility in Stevenage will be part-funded by the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The new laboratory will be exclusively dedicated to the provision of cell and gene therapy manufacturing training and will utilise both digital and established teaching platforms. Learners will be trained using state-of-the-art equipment capable of large-scale manufacture to meet the need for skilled workers to help accelerate the scale-up of growing cell and gene therapy companies locally.

The laboratory supports the national drive for skills development within the cell and gene therapy industry, and complements existing skills initiatives coordinated by CGT Catapult, including the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) and the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC).

Hertfordshire LEP has selected five key projects to receive a share of its £16.8m allocation from Government’s Getting Building Fund, which aims to kickstart local economic recovery. The five Hertfordshire projects are set to deliver over 1,500 high value jobs across high-tech sectors including film and TV; cell and gene therapies; advanced therapeutics; and smart construction.

Hertfordshire LEP has awarded £3,055,880 towards the cell and gene therapy integration laboratory. The funding will allow CGT Catapult to equip the laboratory with the latest digital technologies including augmented reality, high-throughput manufacturing platforms and advanced analytics for the industrial manufacture of cell and gene therapies.

Paul Witcombe, Head of Enterprise and Innovation, Hertfordshire LEP, said:

“We are delighted to have secured further investment to support future advances in cell and gene therapies. Skills digitalisation is a key differentiator and is absolutely critical if the UK is to remain a global centre of excellence in this sector.”

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Luke Hall MP said:

“The Getting Building Fund is helping shovel ready projects to create jobs and encourage economic recovery across the country. An investment of over £3 million will support a dedicated cell and gene therapy training centre to be established in Stevenage, bringing valuable opportunities to the community. The state-of-the-art facilities will help local people gain the skills they need to enter this important sector, as well as supporting the creation of high-quality jobs.”

The funding will also help expand upon the industry-leading capabilities available at CGT Catapult, including at the facility in Stevenage which has been instrumental to the growth of the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry. The cell and gene therapy cluster around Stevenage has also recently been recognised as a High Potential Opportunity zone, set to attract overseas investment to the area to further strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage.

Matthew Durdy, CEO at CGT Catapult said:

“This Local Enterprise Partnership investment in the new integration laboratory in Stevenage has allowed us to move forward with this dedicated facility for the cell and gene therapy industry. This initiative will help to further expand the cell and gene therapy cluster around Stevenage and support the development of the UK skills base in the industry.

Award of this funding truly encapsulates the LEP’s forward-thinking approach in supporting companies which are at the forefront of innovation, and at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult we appreciate their contribution in helping advance our mission to grow the UK cell and gene therapy industry.”