The Cell Therapy Catapult, which is focused on the development of the UK cell therapy industry to increase the nation's health and wealth, has chosen to build its £55m state-of-the-art Cell Therapy manufacturing centre in Stevenage, UK

Its position on the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst campus will provide additional inward investment from global companies, as well support the SME biotech and life sciences companies based in the UK. The large-scale manufacturing facility is expected to create up to 150 jobs, and forecasts suggest that firms using the Cell Therapy Manufacturing Centre will generate £1.2bn of revenue by 2020 (80% via export). Stevenage met all the Cell Therapy Catapult’s location criteria.

Welcoming the announcement Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said: “This therapy is at the very cutting edge of medical research, and is using our own cells in the fight against life-threatening diseases including cancer. This state of the art facility in Stevenage will ensure Britain can be a real leader in this industry. Supporting British scientists is crucial for our long-term economic growth and that is why we are publishing a Science and Innovation Strategy this week – a blueprint for building our future innovation infrastructure.”

The UK Cell Therapy Manufacturing Centre, which is expected to open in 2017, will be managed by the Cell Therapy Catapult and will be used for manufacture of late phase clinical trial and commercial supply of advanced therapeutic medicinal products including cell and gene therapies.

Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult said: “We’re excited to be making this announcement which demonstrates the investment the UK government is making to advance the industry into becoming a world leader in advanced therapy development and commercialisation. This facility will complement the existing UK capability, enabling companies to operate at the scale needed for Phase III clinical trials, and we look forward to working with global scientific and medical communities to assist in their research into products that have the potential to address many unmet medical needs.”

“This is terrific news that we have met all the criteria for locating this facility here,” said Martino Picardo, CEO of the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. “Our open innovation campus is a unique and thriving bioscience community with the benefit of excellent UK and international logistics. Companies coming to the Cell Therapy Catapult’s Manufacturing Centre will also be able to access our expertise, networks and scientific facilities traditionally associated with multinational pharmaceutical companies.”

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of Innovate UK, said: “This is an exciting development for the Cell Therapy Catapult and an important next step in the establishment of the UK as a global manufacturing centre for the cell therapy industry. The choice of Stevenage follows a rigorous selection process to ensure the right location for this important facility. The new centre is a further endorsement by the Government of the Catapult model following the Hauser review and recommendations that were published last month.”

Dr Eliot Forster, Executive Chair of MedCity, said: “This is great news for Stevenage and for cell therapy research and development in the UK as a whole. Having a state of the art manufacturing centre to complement the cutting edge research being carried out here positions the UK as a leading hub for this exciting emerging field of medical science. It’s an important addition to our life sciences ecosystem, and another reason why companies from around the world will be keen to develop their presence here.”

In its 2013 survey of Good Manufacturing Practice, the Cell Therapy Catapult identified Manufacturing and Supply Chain as one of the barriers to the translation of research into commercially viable products. The UK is strongly positioned for early clinical phase manufacturing and the large scale capacity centre will help in growing a UK based global industry.