Press release: Research Highlights the UK’s Growing Industry and Infrastructure for Manufacturing Cell and Gene Therapies

This year’s major investment in the size and scale of the UK’s manufacturing capability supports significant growth in jobs and in the production of cell and gene therapies in the UK. A 60% expansion in the UK’s GMP licensed manufacturing space has created the most advanced environment for the development of cell and gene therapies in Europe.

New research published today by the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult indicates that the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry continues to strengthen, as private and government investment has led to an increase in manufacturing space and jobs in the sector within the past year.

The UK has seen a
60% increase in manufacturing space

There is
1,500m2of cleanroom space coming online in 2019

There has been a
30% increase in employment

Since November 2017, the UK has seen a 60% increase in manufacturing space for cell and gene therapies licensed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and meeting Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards. This increase has been partly driven by the opening in April of the CGT Catapult’s GMP manufacturing centre in Stevenage, in addition to expansion of facilities of Cobra Biologics and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

The CGT Catapult-led research also reveals that utilisation of capacity is running at 81% compared with 77% for 2017. The continuing high utilisation of these centres is indicative of a continuously increasing demand for cell and gene therapy services and infrastructure driven by the rapidly evolving pipeline of advanced therapies. In addition to Investigational Medicinal Product licences (IMPs), two have commercial licenses, demonstrating that the UK is well placed to service the exciting and growing cell and gene therapy pipeline, strengthening its global position in this complex and technically challenging area. The UK sector has an extremely positive outlook with a further 1,500m2 of cleanroom space scheduled to come online before the end of 2019, taking the total cleanroom footprint to ~8,000m2.

Marking an increase of 30% in employment over last year, the data in the report shows that over 500 people are currently employed in manufacturing by 21 organisations operating across multiple sites and this number can be anticipated to grow significantly in line with the growth of the industry and the number of therapies reaching commercialisation.

This is the fifth year that we have conducted our annual survey and every year I am delighted by the results and growth we are seeing in the cell and gene therapy industry here in the UK. This year’s 60% increase in manufacturing space and 30% growth in jobs is a sign of a burgeoning UK industry that is investing in scaling up to become a global destination for ATMP manufacturing and development.

With the continuing investment by UK Research an Innovation in initiatives such as the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres Network, and the new apprenticeship programme alongside the investment made by industry, the UK has built and Advanced Therapy Ecosystem second to none becoming the first place outside of the US where a CAR-T therapy could be approved and adopted by the National Health Service.

Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer

The significant growth in cell and gene manufacturing over the last year showcases the UK’s considerable strengths in life sciences. This vitality in the sector, supported by the investment through the government’s modern industrial strategy and the life sciences sector deal, demonstrates how the UK is ideally placed to realise both the commercial and societal benefits from cell and gene therapies.

Kath Mackay, Director of Ageing Society, Health and Nutrition at Innovate UK

Download the report: