Wealth of preclinical services and clinical biomarker expertise in UK CROs

There is a wealth of preclinical experience in cell therapies across UK contract research organisations (CROs), covering a range of therapeutic approaches, study types, disease models and biomarker analysis. These are the findings of a new survey from the Cell Therapy Catapult, which is focused on the development of the UK cell therapy industry to increase the nation’s health and wealth. In parallel the HealthTech and Medicines KTN (Health KTN) undertook a coordinated enquiry into the capability and capacity for preclinical testing in public sector organisations. Presented today at a Preclinical Modelling Workshop for Regenerative Medicine at Keele University, the Cell Therapy Catapult capacity survey involved 13 UK-based preclinical services and clinical biomarker CROs.

The findings of the Preclinical Services and Clinical Biomarker Survey include:

  • The CROs range from larger organisations active across a range of disciplines to specialist providers
  • Over half are signed up to UK GLP1 compliance monitoring programmes
  • While the CROs are active in a range of areas, there is most experience in T cell therapies2 and dendritic cell vaccines3 (respectively 54% & 46% of CROs)
  • There is also expertise across some of the safety issues pertinent to cell therapies (eg tumorigenic potential for pluripotent cell therapies), across a range of animal disease models plus preclinical and clinical tissue services
  • For clinical biomarkers, UK CROs offer a range of endpoints and assays, including biomarker panels and multiplex platforms.

Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said, ‘The range of commercial preclinical and clinical biomarker services available across the UK provides a solid foundation for the growth of the cell therapy industry, and this bodes well for tackling nonclinical challenges in collaboration with the community. The extensive activity around T cell therapies and dendritic cell vaccines indicates the industry’s growing interest in this area, one which is reflected in our activities.’

Sue Dunkerton, Co-director of the Health KTN, said, ‘The UK is acknowledged to have centres of excellence in regenerative medicine, furthering the research necessary to turn these technologies into therapies. In doing essential preclinical research, we are developing expertise around how cell therapies behave in the body. This understanding will help the regenerative medicine industry transform science into live-saving products.”

1 Good laboratory practice
2 Read our T cell therapies technical report and backgrounder.
3 We expect to publish a dendritic cell vaccines technical report & a backgrounder shortly