GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will expand its presence at the UK Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult’s Stevenage facility to carry out good manufacturing practice (GMP) cell processing and accelerate its cell and gene therapy pipeline for clinical trials.

As well as boosting GSK’s investment in cell and gene therapy manufacturing in the UK for clinical trials, the agreement will bring additional expertise to the collaborators already using the CGT Catapult facility in Stevenage, the company said.

The move represents a major investment by GSK in the UK CGT ecosystem and the CGT Catapult model to accelerate the setup of advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMP) manufacturing at scale.

“The UK already has significant capabilities in cell and gene therapy, and this agreement illustrates how strategic investments by GSK can make them even stronger,” said GSK’s senior vice president of medicinal science and technology Tony Wood.

“Working more closely with CGT Catapult will help us advance our promising cell and gene therapy programmes, and bring these transformative medicines more quickly to the patients who desperately need them.”

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CGT Catapult was established in 2012 as an independent centre of excellence to accelerate the development of the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry, speeding the transition from scientific research to commercialisation.

The UK has become a world leader in the development of cell and gene therapies in recent years and is home to over 90 ATMP therapy developers.

Despite the obstacles presented by Covid-19, 2020 was a big year for the UK’s GMP manufacturing sector for cell and gene therapies, seeing a 48% increase in available production space.

Last month, CGT Catapult published the 2020 ATMP clinical trials database and report, which reported 20% growth in the number of ATMP clinical trials across the UK last year. This increase included growth in late-stage cell and gene therapy clinical trials, showing a continued progression towards commercialisation, CGT Catapult said.

The report also found that the number of commercially sponsored trials have surged since 2019, with an almost 30% increase from 89 to 115 trials.

Commercial trials now make up three-quarters of the ATMP trial landscape, according to the 2020 report, with the majority being sponsored by international companies.

In response to such developments, the CGT Catapult facility in Stevenage has expanded with six additional cleanrooms, which made the new agreement with GSK possible.

CGT Catapult said the added experience brought in by GSK will support the development of new capabilities to benefit future and current collaborators looking to progress their manufacturing at the Stevenage site.

“The move by a leading pharmaceutical company like GSK to establish ATMP manufacturing capabilities at the CGT Catapult facility in Stevenage highlights the UK’s globally leading position for large and smaller organisations alike to develop, manufacture and deliver cell and gene therapies,” said Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult CEO Matthew Durdy.

“With a range of collaborators already based in the facility, we look forward to participating in the collective innovation onsite to pioneer the growth in scale of advanced therapy manufacturing.”

Cell & Gene Therapy Coverage on Clinical Trials Arena supported by Cytiva.

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