The Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (ATTC) network – including a centre based at BHP – has been awarded a total of £9.5 million to fund an additional 12 months of the programme.
£6.5 million has been granted from the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and an additional £3 million from its Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF), managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).
The funding will support additional initiatives through to March 2022 and continuation of certain centre and network projects which were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This award builds upon the significant success of the ATTC network to date – the UK accounts for 12% of global advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) clinical trials, and the network supports half of these.
Projects that will be delivered from this new funding include expanding the network, standardising best practice for routine clinical delivery of advanced therapies in the NHS, and the nationwide provision of educational programmes to carers and healthcare professionals.
The ATTC network was established in 2018 through funding from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund in response to the challenge faced by the NHS in the adoption of these potentially life-changing, but highly disruptive, treatments.
The network comprises three regional UK centres – the Midlands and Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC), based at and led by BHP founder-members the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham – along with Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub (iMATCH) and Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NA-ATTC). They operate within the NHS framework and are coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult).
Since its creation, the network has worked with 64 partners in industry, academia and the healthcare system to advance the global competitiveness of the UK cell and gene therapy ecosystem. Among many achievements so far, the programme has created over 80 new high skilled jobs and trained over 2,700 people across multiple industries. The network has also supported two international companies to open offices in the UK and established an Industry Advisory Group of 39 partners to encourage pre-competitive collaboration across the industry.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We want to build back better by putting the UK at the forefront of new technologies to create high-skilled jobs, increase productivity and grow the economy as we recover from coronavirus.
This new funding will strengthen the UK’s global status in a range of areas, including advanced medical treatments, helping us develop innovative solutions to some of our biggest global challenges and creating jobs in rewarding careers right across the country.”
Andy Jones, medicines manufacturing challenge director at UK Research and Innovation, said: “When we set up Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres we expected them to play a key role in not only bringing advanced medicines to people suffering from life limiting illnesses, but in establishing the UK as a foremost centre for life sciences. 1 in 8 worldwide clinical trials in advanced therapies now take place in the UK and nearly 60 specialist companies are headquartered here. The centres are developing the systems to support advanced therapies, so that the NHS can treat a wide range of conditions, including cancer, blindness and rare diseases in children. I welcome the extra funding which will allow the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry to continue to grow at pace and volume.”
Matthew Durdy, CEO, CGT Catapult commented: “The ATTC network is a fantastic example of effective Government intervention and the international community recognises this as part of the UK’s leadership in the field. Bringing together companies, the NHS and regulatory bodies to make the use of cell and gene therapies easier, more cost effective, and more widespread both boosts the industry and brings these life changing medicines to patients who need them.
“The fact that 12% of global clinical trials in cell and gene therapy take place in the UK and half of those involve ATTCs is a testament to the success of this highly respected programme.”