UK News

Biotech centre focusing on gene therapies opens in Bristol, UK

A new state-of-the-art facility named the Clinical Biotechnology Centre (CBC) is opening in Bristol, UK. It cost approximately £10m to build, funded by the UK Government.
CBC is aiming to support the UK’s cell and gene therapy (CGT) industry, from manufacturing DNA plasmids and viral vectors that are used to create gene and genetically modified cell therapies, to supporting early phase clinical trials and preclinical work.
CGT has been found to be potentially curative for currently incurable diseases such as blood cancers, sickle cell disease and cystic fibrosis. Some of these diseases require personalised treatments that are created for a single patient – it is hoped the CBC will facilitate this for UK patients.
The UK currently has a limited capacity to manufacture DNA plasmids and viral vectors, which means long delays for the developers of gene therapies, and the added cost and time of looking overseas for manufacturers.
Dr Lilian Hook, NHS Blood and Transplant’s director of Cell, Apheresis and Gene Therapies said: “The CBC is basically a factory – it manufactures the building blocks (or components) needed to produce gene therapies. Researchers and developers can ask us to manufacture the specific components they require. This will enable cutting-edge research with the potential to develop cures for some critical diseases, which can currently only be treated and often ultimately prove fatal. We’ll be supporting delivery of these curative treatments into the NHS, so patients can access them more quickly. The CBC will help the UK grow its cell and gene therapy industry in a rapidly growing international market. We won’t be designing the treatments but we will be manufacturing them to the right scale and clinical grade. CGT is a growing area for the healthcare sector and of part of our direction of travel as an organisation.”