UK accounts for 12% of cell and gene therapy trials – report

The UK accounts for over 12% of global cell and gene therapy clinical trials, according to new data published by a government-backed agency.

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) today released its 2019 UK Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs) clinical trials database showing that the 127 ongoing trials represent a 45% increase compared with 2018.

According to the CGT Catapult this means the NHS and UK life sciences R&D centres are working well to allow innovative therapies to progress through to the clinic.

Publication of the figures comes the day after the government announced a deal with Novartis to bring cholesterol drug inclisiran to patients in England, and the announcement of an updated life sciences industrial strategy aimed at stimulating private investment in the sector.

Cell and gene therapies require specialist systems and infrastructure and according to the CGT Catapult the UK is being recognised internationally with the majority of commercially sponsored trials being backed by international organisations.

The database shows that 77% of UK cell and gene therapy trials are now sponsored by commercial organisations compared to only 25% in 2013.

The main therapy area for cell and gene therapies clinical trials remains oncology (39%) followed by ophthalmology (13%) and haematology (12%).

While the majority of trials are in the recruitment phase, the number of trials recruiting is considerably larger than previous years.

In 2019, there were 90 cell therapy trials recruiting patients, compared with around 55 in 2018, and the data suggest that these trials are quickly moving through planning and regulatory approvals to recruitment stage.

Around 65% of trials involve autologous cells, sourced from individual patients, with the remainder being “off the shelf” allogeneic products.

Established as an independent centre of excellence the CGT Catapult is funded by the government through Innovate UK.

It aims to encourage inward investment from big pharma and other international companies by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale marketing.

Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell and CGT said: “The total number of cell and gene therapy clinical trials in the UK has been increasing consistently by an average of 25% year on year since 2013. This has been enabled by the development of the UKs fantastic ecosystem to support the development and clinical adoption of cell and gene therapies.”

The full report is available here.

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