Press release: UK accounts for over 12% of global cell and gene therapy clinical trials

The UK and the NHS are providing the right environment and infrastructure to allow innovative cell and gene therapies to reach patients. International companies recognise the appeal of the UK cell and gene therapy ecosystem and are sponsoring the majority of the UK commercial clinical trials which account for 77% of the total 127 ongoing trials.

The full report and database can be downloaded at

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today released their 2019 UK advanced therapies medicinal products (ATMPs) clinical trials database showing that the 127 ongoing trials represent a ~45% increase compared to 2018, and account for 12% of the total global cell and gene therapy clinical studies.

The NHS and UK ecosystem are providing the right platforms to allow innovative therapies to progress through to the clinic in ever increasing numbers. Cell and gene therapies require novel approaches, systems and infrastructure to enable the delivery of these life changing, living medicines to patients. The favourable UK environment is being recognised internationally with the majority of commercially sponsored trials being backed by international organisations.

Cell and gene therapies continue to progress towards large scale commercialisation to add to the therapies already approved for use. The database shows that 77% of UK cell and gene therapy trials are now sponsored by commercial organisations compared to only 25% in 2013. This number reflects the continuous investment that companies are making in cell and gene therapies, and the transformative effects that these therapies are proving to have on patients’ lives.

The main indication for cell and gene therapies clinical trials remains oncology (39%) followed by ophthalmology (13%) and haematology (12%).

Health Minister Baroness Blackwood

“These extraordinary figures show the UK’s life sciences sector is leading the world in getting cutting-edge treatments to NHS patients as quickly as possible. As our research capabilities continue to grow, our exceptional NHS as a whole will be able to reap the benefits of not only more innovative medicines for patients, but investment from companies seeking outstanding expertise.”

Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK

“The UK is a world leader in developing innovative therapies. Through continued support from government, we are building a network of excellence which brings together research and commercial organisations. With the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult playing a key role in advancing the development of these therapies, this will not only bring concrete benefits to patients but will also allow the UK sector to compete globally.”

Keith Thompson, CEO, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

“The total number of cell and gene therapy clinical trials in the UK has been increasing consistently by an average of 25% year on year since 2013. This has been enabled by the development of the UK's fantastic ecosystem to support the development and clinical adoption of cell and gene therapies. The infrastructure and initiatives that have been put in place, with strong backing by the government, including the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network, are giving companies the confidence to setup and run their innovative clinical studies here. The result, is that we are now seeing therapies moving from academic projects towards becoming commercial products that can be delivered at scale by the NHS.”

The report and database can be downloaded at

Notes to editor:

Find out more about the UK’s cell and gene therapy clinical trials, manufacturing and skills landscape at the links below.