Female scientist looking into microscope

NHS capability for advanced therapy boosted by further investment

An additional £9.5m funding boost has been awarded by the UK Government into the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (ATTC) network.

Established in 2018 through funding from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the ATTC network is a world-first, UK-wide system of Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres (ATTCs) operating within the NHS framework.

Their work focuses on advanced therapies, such as new cell and gene therapies, and aims to restore normal function and offer cures where unmet medical need exists. Many will require new ways of working to be adopted within the NHS.

Receiving a total investment of £9.5m, the ATTC network will be supported for an additional 12 months of the programme, continuing to address the unique and complex challenges of bringing pioneering advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) to patients.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided £6.5m of the funding total, with the additional £3m coming from UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF). As part of the funding, additional initiatives will now be able to be supported through to March 2022, along with the continuation of certain centre and network projects which were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UK now accounts for 12% of advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) clinical trials globally, with the network supporting half of those.

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.

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.

The programme has created over 80 new high skilled jobs and trained over 2,700 people across multiple industries, as well as supporting two international companies to open offices in the UK. It has also 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 UKRI, added: “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.

“One in eight 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.”

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