Keith Thompson, CEO of the innovation incubator Cell Therapy Calapult, opened the 2014 World Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Congress by talking about the changing landscape of the cell therapy industry.
Keith highlighted that ‘the path to commercialisation is becoming clearer and clearer’ thanks to improving data from the development of new therapies and the positive role UK regulators are continuing to play in supporting the industry.
With this in mind Keith talked us through Cell Therapy Catapult’s planned creation of a new cell therapy manufacturing facility designed to increase the UK production capacity by 900% (10000m2) by 2020 when compared to the current stock of clean rooms dotted across the country at academic institutions.
This facility will be funded in part by a £55 million grant from the UK government. The funds will go towards the creation of the facility, but also, unusually for government funding, the money will help to fund the operation of the plant. There is also the potential for Cell Therapy Catapult to receive more government funds in order to support SMEs new to the cell therapy industry.
The design of the facility will be modular in nature and as such will give Cell Therapy Catapult the chance to upgrade and expand the facility in line with the growth in the sector they expect to see in the next few years.
This facility will not just be for use by UK developers and those incubated by Cell Therapy Catapult. Keith suggested that the facility is open to the US and Japanese firms, who have already been showing interest in the facility.