Cell and gene therapy testing

Cell and gene therapy in Hertfordshire

Design, develop and supply transformative advanced therapies, all from the largest cell and gene therapy cluster outside the USA.

Cell and gene therapies are a new, advanced class of medicine that offer patients - including those with complex and previously untreatable diseases - personalised, long-lasting and potentially curative treatments.

Leverage the growing demand for cell and gene therapies by utilising the cell and gene therapy cluster centred around Stevenage which has become the largest cluster in Europe and third largest globally.

You can capitalise on a connected UK ecosystem and significant regional strengths by forming partnerships with world-leading academic and research institutions, benefiting from innovation and manufacturing infrastructure, and supply chain businesses. This can help you gain a commercial advantage in an industry expected to be valued at £27 billion by 2027.

Cell and gene therapy testing

Location:

Hertfordshire

Investment type:

Foreign direct investment

Sector:

MedTech, Healthcare and life sciences

Rohini Kumar

Rohini Kumar

Investment Propositions Adviser

Contact the opportunity lead

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Sector and market opportunity

Companies in Stevenage will find themselves in the heart of a global hub for advanced therapy R&D and manufacturing.

The area has excellent links to global industrial and academic partners, as well as access to state-of-the-art facilities. Key opportunities exist across research and development, manufacturing and commercialisation, clinical adoption and ancillary services.

The Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst is an entrepreneurial hub for life sciences, providing support for the translation and commercialisation of innovative medicines.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Stevenage will enable you to develop your process, scale-up and commercialise your cell and gene therapies.

Efficient clinical adoption is enabled by the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (ATTC) network (coordinated by the CGT Catapult). It works to develop robust systems for the routine delivery of advanced therapy medicinal products as a standard of care throughout the NHS in the UK.

Growth prospects

The UK cell and gene therapy industry has more than 3x grown since 2012. Furthermore, the number of approved products and ongoing clinical trials continues to grow, making this a market that’s ripe for investment.

Location

Stevenage has a well-established ecosystem for gene and cell therapy. The area is home to world-class scientific research centres and universities, such as Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and University College London.

The London Knowledge Quarter and the Francis Crick Institute are less than 30 minutes by train.

You’ll also find relevant investors in Stevenage, such as Syncona and LifeArc - a leading UK medical research charity that helps commercialise scientific research.

Connectivity

Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports are between 25 and 50 minutes away by road, where you can get a huge range of national and international flights.

Stevenage is positioned on the A1(M), which makes it an ideal location for accessing the roadway network. It’s ideally situated – for example, London is just 30 miles away.

Stevenage railway station is easily accessed with fast and frequent services to London, Cambridge, and other major centres.

Local talent and skills

Because of a growing demand for a specialised workforce, there’s an extensive national and local advanced therapy skills programme that:

  • has an apprenticeship programme for companies to recruit or develop staff
  • has a network of national training centres offering specialised hands-on training
  • has online and virtual reality training for continuous, effective and efficient upskilling

Also, almost 70% of the UK’s core biopharmaceutical workforce live within 2 hours of Stevenage.

Meanwhile, over 10 universities within a 2-hour drive offer advanced therapy specific courses. In total, the area has over 12,000 graduates and 41,500 students with degrees within key related subjects from local universities.

Research and expertise

There are several world-class facilities for scientific research nearby, such as the Francis Crick Institute, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, the new Rosalind Franklin Institute and the Diamond Light Synchrotron.

The cell and gene therapy cluster in the region also benefits from having access to specialist clinical facilities and academic expertise in veterinary regenerative medicine at The Royal Veterinary College.

Some of the UK’s largest life science companies are based between Oxford, Cambridge and London.

Many international research and development companies have been attracted to the Stevenage Advanced Therapies campus thanks to the likes of GSK’s cell and gene therapy group, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst and the CGT Catapult.

Local and national government support

The UK is investing in healthy ageing, meaning your company can capitalise on the vital investment pouring into the sector.

The government is delivering on its aim to bring the UK to the forefront of advanced cell and gene therapies by providing a generous and competitive R&D credit system.

Locally, community networks, incubator space and specialist advice services are all available to help you get started. Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership can connect you, ensuring that you’re well equipped for commercial success.

Success stories

Autolus

Autolus is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering in chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies, having spun out from University College London in 2014.

Autolus has more than doubled its presence in Hertfordshire employing over 200 staff, including PhD graduates and manufacturing scientists.

In 2021, Autolus broke ground on their new, purpose-built 70,000 square foot manufacturing headquarters located in Stevenage, and announced a £187 million investment by Blackstone Life Sciences.

Adaptimmune

Adaptimmune is a UK-based, cell therapy company. Originally formed in 1993 as a University of Pennsylvania spin-out, they manufacture modified T-cells for clinical trials in solid tumours. 

In 2018, Adaptimmune opened its viral vector manufacturing facility inside the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Innovation Centre in Stevenage. In Stevenage it manufactures the lentiviral vectors to supply its cell therapy operations in Philadelphia, taking advantage of Stevenage’s excellent transport connections and established supply chains.

Rentschler Biopharma

Rentschler Biopharma is a contract development and manufacturing organisation with an HQ in Germany and existing manufacturing capabilities in Massachusetts. 

In 2021, Rentschler signed a collaboration agreement with CGT Catapult, investing in the site over a 5-year period to establish their cell and gene manufacturing capabilities.

In their accompanying statement, Rentschler confirmed that ‘with the largest industry cluster for cell and gene therapies outside the US, the UK is an ideal location for us to establish our Center of Excellence for cell and gene therapy’.

Other opportunities

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