Press release: Accelerated demand for specialist skills in the UK cell and gene therapy industry

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult reported today over 3,000 jobs in the UK cell and gene therapy industry with 1,700 roles in manufacturing and bioprocessing. A growth in the sector which is driving accelerated demand for more skilled personnel within the next five years.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today released the UK cell and gene therapy skills demand report. The report shows that the UK cell and gene therapy industry currently supports over 3,000 jobs. Employment in this sector in the UK is set to more than double by 2024 as more therapies are moving towards commercialisation. In seven years, the industry has expanded from 500 jobs in 2012 to over 3,000 and is predicted to reach over 6,000 jobs by 2024. The number of manufacturing and bioprocessing roles in particular, has tripled in the past two years alone, to over 1,700 roles to date.

The growth reported today in the cell and gene therapy job sector is testament to the established and growing Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product (ATMP) ecosystem that has been built and the increasing numbers of clinical trials running and being setup in the UK.

The demand for specialised personnel is being driven by the expanding pipeline of these living medicines in clinical trial and reaching patients needing more trained staff required to fulfil the demand of multiple companies that will undergo parallel phased recruitment. This acceleration is creating some concerns, for example, over how quickly it will be possible to address this demand as well as concerns over availability of targeted academic courses.

The report is supporting evidence for the success of the government backing for the ATMP ecosystem and also underlines the importance of targeted programmes to prevent future growth bottlenecks such as skill shortage. Initiatives such as the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community (ATAC), first apprenticeship program setup in partnership with Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership  and designed specifically to train and upskills individuals in ATMPs has been identified as important in addressing this fast growth of the sector. The programme was awarded £1.5m funding by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, is coordinated by CGT Catapult and has developed five courses and currently supports 21 companies.

Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

It is very encouraging to see the number of cell and gene therapy roles growing at such pace. Advanced therapies are progressing from research into becoming commercial products. Thanks to the continuous support from Innovate UK and UK Research and Innovation, we have been able to accelerate the growth of the UK ecosystem, the infrastructures and the systems that can enable companies to grow and for their therapies to reach patients. To keep growing, the industry will need many more skilled people and the expansion of programmes such as the ATAC are an essential part of this.

A copy of the report “Cell and gene therapy GMP manufacturing in the UK: capability and capacity analysis 2019” can be downloaded at ct.catapult.org.uk/manufacturing-surveys

A copy of the report “UK cell and gene therapy skills demand report 2019” can be downloaded at ct.catapult.org.uk/manufacturing-surveys  

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Accelerated demand for specialist skills in the UK cell and gene therapy industry

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