17.9m for Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network to bolster clinical trial infrastructure in the UK

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) today announce a £17.9 strategic initiative to enhance the UK environment for advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) clinical trials at three centres, including Manchester, and to keep the UK as a location of choice for advanced therapy research,.

The initiative will provide a further four years of funding for the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre Network. The funding will come from NIHR, Innovate UK will provide oversight of the funds and CGT Catapult provide co-ordination of the network.

The ATTC network is currently composed of three centres: Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub ( iMATCH ); Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre; and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre, with the CGT Catapult providing co-ordination.

The manchester health consortium is led by The Christie and also consists of The University of Manchester (including input from Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute and Manchester Cancer Research Centre), Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (including Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Manchester Royal Infirmary) and nine life science focused businesses.

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 [1] . 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 said: "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 commented: "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."

Professor Fiona Thistlethwaite, Director of iMATCH, medical oncology consultant at the Christie and honorary professor of experimental immunotherapy at The University of Manchester said: " "We are delighted to have achieved onward funding for the ATTC network including iMATCH. It means we will be able to progress the work we started in 2018 to scale up activity and overcome barriers in complex cell and gene therapies with Manchester at the heart of these developments."