Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership has announced plans to invest an extra £1.2 million into Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst (SBC), in order to “help grow a world-class cell and gene therapy cluster.”

The organisation says that the money will help reinforce the campus as a world class cell and gene therapy cluster, providing much-needed temporary accommodation for growing companies of that nature.

The investment also aims to strengthen the UK’s sectorial advantage and Hertfordshire’s position within the Oxford-London-Cambridge “golden research triangle.”

The “world-leading” science park is of global significance, being home to the largest cluster of cell and gene therapy companies in Europe. Since its opening in 2012, it has already attracted over 40 high-profile occupier businesses and world-class research organisations to Stevenage.

The new £1.2 million capital will go specifically towards the development of the new “Spark Building”, which will provide interim lab and office accommodation whilst more permanent accommodation is developed nearby. The building, due for completion by the end of 2019, will be co-located with the SBC Incubator, Accelerator and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre.

The Catalyst is “delighted” to receive the investment, along with the “continued support from Hertfordshire LEP” Said Dr Sally Ann Forsyth, chief executive officer at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. “This ensures that we support the growth of our occupiers and continue to build on our position as Europe’s hub for cell and gene therapy.”

The SBC was initially established in 2012 with £38m funding from GSK, Wellcome and Innovate UK.