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5 January, 2021 - 20:20 By Tony Quested

Cell and gene therapy lab ramps with £3m extra funding

A new cell and gene therapy integration laboratory in Stevenage is to receive more than £3 million from Hertfordshire LEP’s Getting Building Fund allocation.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) say the venture will be part-funded by the Government’s Getting Building Fund.

The new laboratory will be exclusively dedicated to the provision of cell and gene therapy manufacturing training and will utilise both digital and established teaching platforms. 

Learners will be trained using state-of-the-art equipment capable of large-scale manufacture to meet the need for skilled workers to help accelerate the scale-up of growing cell and gene therapy companies locally.

The laboratory supports the national drive for skills development within the cell and gene therapy industry, and complements existing skills initiatives coordinated by CGT Catapult, including the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network and the Advanced Therapies Apprenticeship Community.

Hertfordshire LEP has selected five key projects to receive a share of its £16.8m allocation from Government’s Getting Building Fund, which aims to kickstart local economic recovery. 

The five Hertfordshire projects are set to deliver over 1,500 high value jobs across high-tech sectors including film and TV; cell and gene therapies; advanced therapeutics; and smart construction.

The LEP’s £3m funding will allow CGT Catapult to equip the laboratory with the latest digital technologies including augmented reality, high-throughput manufacturing platforms and advanced analytics for the industrial manufacture of cell and gene therapies.

The funding will also help expand upon the industry-leading capabilities available at CGT Catapult, including at the facility in Stevenage which has been instrumental to the growth of the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry. The cell and gene therapy cluster around Stevenage has also recently been recognised as a High Potential Opportunity zone, set to attract overseas investment to the area to further strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage.

Matthew Durdy, CEO at CGT Catapult said: “This Local Enterprise Partnership investment in the new integration laboratory in Stevenage has allowed us to move forward with this dedicated facility for the cell and gene therapy industry. 

“This initiative will help to further expand the cell and gene therapy cluster around Stevenage and support the development of the UK skills base in the industry.”

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