PING, the pharma best practice initiative run by VWV and supported by the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, welcomed leading players from the industry including Matthew Durdy, CEO of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, which has its heartland in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.
The Catapult is developing a cluster of exciting companies in cell and gene therapies, which will provide a hub for leading skills and innovative personalised medicine treatments for many years to come.
The speed of growth in terms of space and investment in cell and gene therapies at the Catapult has been astonishing. Linked to this, Stevenage was recently classified by The Department for International Trade (DIT) as a High Potential Opportunity (HPO) zone in recognition of its leading cell and gene therapy cluster.
Stevenage already has the largest cell and gene therapy cluster outside of the US. The campus provides over 1,000 jobs and houses 45 companies, 13 of which are in the cell and gene therapy space.
Now, in the Catapult's 2020 report, it has shown that its GMP manufacturing space has expanded by 48% - despite the pandemic.
The report shows that the industry is maturing at a rapid rate. This can be seen with Oxford BioMedica having added their third facility, as well as the expansion of Cobra Biologics at Stevenage. There have also been six additional cleanrooms for companies to manufacture their own products at the Catapult facility in Stevenage.
Meanwhile, the numbers of skilled personnel on the site have risen by 15% since last year, to 1,310.
With 96% of the gene therapy space now being commercially-owned, this shows the industry is now maturing quickly, and commercialising.
Matthew Durdy commented: "We can see a clear progress of gene and cell therapies towards commercialisation and the consequent growth in GMP manufacturing space to support this. Today’s data shows how this industry is set to increase even further with more GMP manufacturing space needed to address the demand, and we look forward to continue working with industry to facilitate this."
Hear More About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and UK's World-Leading Life Sciences Exploits
This is great news and shows how the UK continues to be at the forefront of exciting developments in this area. At the 2020 PING Conference, speakers included people from Genomics England, Deloitte, Congenica, Benevolent AI and others. We were treated to some really exciting news about the UK's lead in these exciting and innovative areas, which are going to shape the future of life sciences and treatments of patients in novel ways.