The UK’s cell and gene therapy industry has seen a 60% increase in manufacturing space in the last year, new research published by the Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult has revealed.

Private and government investment has led to an increase in manufacturing space and jobs in the sector, creating the most advanced environment for the development of cell and gene therapies in Europe, according to the group.

This increase was partly driven by the opening in April of the CGT Catapult’s GMP manufacturing centre in Stevenage, in addition to expansion of facilities of Cobra Biologics and Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service.

The research also reveals that utilisation of capacity is running at 81% compared with 77% for 2017, which indicates a continuously increasing demand for cell and gene therapy services and infrastructure driven by the rapidly evolving pipeline of advanced therapies.

According to the data, more than 500 people are currently employed in manufacturing by 21 organisations operating across multiple sites, marking an increase of 30% in employment over last year. This number can also be anticipated to grow significantly in line with the continued growth of the industry, the CGT Catapult noted.

“This is the fifth year that we have conducted our annual survey and every year I am delighted by the results and growth we are seeing in the cell and gene therapy industry here in the UK,” said chief executive Keith Thompson.

“This year’s 60% increase in manufacturing space and 30% growth in jobs is a sign of a burgeoning UK industry that is investing in scaling up to become a global destination for ATMP manufacturing and development.”

“The significant growth in cell and gene manufacturing over the last year showcases the UK’s considerable strengths in life sciences,” added Kath Mackay, director of Ageing Society, health and nutrition at Innovate UK, which is part of UK Research and Innovation.

“This vitality in the sector, supported by the investment through the government’s modern industrial strategy and the life sciences sector deal, demonstrates how the UK is ideally placed to realise both the commercial and societal benefits from cell and gene therapies.”

CGT Catapult has over 180 experts focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, and works with partners in academia and industry to ensure that life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world.