The University of Hertfordshire and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) have announced the launch of a new course specifically addressing the foreseeable skills gap in the manufacture of cell and gene therapies as they progress towards manufacturing at scale.

Developed in a collaboration between the two organisations, this three-day course will provide theoretical and practical training on the aseptic manufacturing of cell and gene therapies in line with European regulatory guidance for good manufacturing practice (GMP).

The cell and gene therapy industry in the UK currently supports over 3,000 jobs, a six-fold increase since 2012, and employment in the sector is set to more than double by 2024 as more therapies progress towards commercialisation. Manufacturing and bioprocessing roles in particular have tripled in the past two years alone, with scientists operating in the 26 cell and gene therapy manufacturing facilities throughout the UK. Cell and gene therapies are transformative and potentially curative medicines, and it is vital that manufacturing processes are safe and efficient whilst preserving the effectiveness of these living medicines.

The new training programme is designed for staff working in cell and gene therapy manufacturing. Delegates will benefit from experience in state-of-the-art facilities and will be awarded a University of Hertfordshire accredited certificate upon successful completion of the training, contingent on assessments of their knowledge, understanding and practical skills.

Dr Salman Rahman, Commercial Lead in the School of Life & Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire commented: “Through our partnership with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult including consultation with leading biotech companies developing new cell and gene therapies, together we have created this bespoke course that provides comprehensive training for practitioners working in Advanced Therapy Medicinal Product manufacturing. Students on the course will be taught theoretical knowledge including principles and operational aspects necessary for aseptic manufacturing of cell and gene therapy products in line with European regulatory guidance, complemented by practical learning experiences in state-of-the-art clean room facilities.”

Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult said: “There is an accelerating demand for skills in the UK cell and gene therapy industry as employment, manufacturing space and the number of ongoing clinical trials increases year on year. We are delighted to collaborate with the University of Hertfordshire in developing this new initiative which will support professionals and apprentices working in the manufacturing of advanced therapies. By providing training on GMP quality standards which are vital to the manufacture of cell and gene therapies, we are furthering our mission to fuel the continuing growth of the industry.”

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