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Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre part of £17.9m network renewal

The Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network includes the Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre, jointly delivered by BHP founding members the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), Innovate UK, the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) have announced a £17.9 million strategic initiative to keep the UK as a location of choice for advanced therapy research and advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) clinical trials.

The initiative will provide a further four years of funding for the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network (ATTC Network) which is currently composed of three centres: Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub; Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre; and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre.

The Midlands-Wales centre has multiple sites across England and Wales, with the Birmingham hub being jointly delivered by BHP founding members the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, directed by Professor Philip Newsome from the University’s Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy. Its aim has been to enable UK advanced therapy companies to reach the clinical market, whilst simultaneously building clinical capacity and capability regionally to deliver these breakthrough therapies to patients. It brings together a wide range of specialists in advanced therapy manufacturing including academic and commercial partners, logistics companies, specialists in clinical trial delivery and teams focussed on IT solutions and health economics.

Professor Philip Newsome, Director of the Midlands and Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre and national clinical lead, commented: “This funding will accelerate the delivery of advanced therapy trials across the Midlands, Wales and beyond. It is an exciting time for patients, researchers and industry as new therapies are trialled and enter routine clinical care.”

The UK is a world leader in ATMP clinical research with 175 ongoing trials being carried out here, and with 9% of global ATMP trials having representation in the UK. Many more products are in development and further action is needed to ensure that the NHS is able to bring advanced therapies to patients at scale across the UK.

Through this further funding, and in close collaboration with NIHR infrastructure and the devolved equivalents, the ATTC network aims to build on its work on advanced therapy clinical trial readiness to ensure the UK maintains its position as a globally attractive location for clinical research.

Health Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “This investment reaffirms the UK’s position as a global leader in clinical research. It will help roll out revolutionary medical products more quickly, potentially treating the root cause of disorders and diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer. Harnessing technological and digital innovations is one of our primary focuses under the first ever NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, enabling new and advanced ways of working.”

Dr Stella Peace, Executive Director for the Healthy Living and Agriculture Domain at Innovate UK, said: “From our initial investment to now overseeing the delivery of the new four-year programme, our goal is to ensure the UK maintains its global leadership in clinical research. Our commitment to fostering innovation and scientific advancements is crucial for sustaining this leadership. This drives medical breakthroughs, as well as strengthening the UK economy by attracting investments, generating high-skilled jobs, and positioning us at the forefront of transformative healthcare discoveries.”

Professor Marian Knight, Scientific Director for NIHR Infrastructure, commented: “The NIHR is committed to ensuring that the UK provides a research environment to enable rapid assessment of new advanced therapies with the potential to transform health and care. Partnerships such as these, linked with existing NIHR research infrastructure, will help ensure that the UK public is able to benefit from these ground-breaking new treatments.”

Matthew Durdy, Chief Executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, added: “Advanced therapies have the potential to transform healthcare, providing a range of new, lifechanging treatments to patients. Thanks to far-sighted investments, like this commitment by NIHR and the on-going support of Innovate UK, the UK is recognised globally as a pioneer in advanced therapies. With the continued great work of the ATTC network, we hope to further build the reputation of the UK.”

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