Achilles becomes fifth company to take residency at CGT Catapult

Achilles Therapeutics will produce clinical material for its personalized T cell candidate from the Cell & Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult.

The Stevenage, UK-based CGT Catapult – established by non-departmental government body Innovate UK in 2017 to support the burgeoning sector – recently completed an expansion, adding six clean rooms.

The first company to take manufacturing in this expanded space is Achilles Therapeutics, which is developing autologous cell therapies against advanced non-small cell lung cancer and recurrent metastatic melanoma.

Image: Google Maps

Using T cells isolated from the patient’s tumour sample, the firm manufactures clonal neoantigen T cells (cNeT) tailored using a proprietary process to the specific set of clonal neoantigens present in the tumour. After expanding the cells, the company’s process removes them and then re-activates them before administering them back in the patient.

Cell and gene demand

Achilles, which will occupy one of the six new modules, is the fifth company currently manufacturing at the CGT Catapult.

The other four are Autolus, Freeline, Adaptimmune and TCR2, a CGT Catapult spokesperson told us.

“The manufacturing center has seen exceptional demand in its first two years of operation since opening in April 2018. The expansion provides larger, segregated GMP cleanrooms designed for developing high throughput manufacturing for advanced therapy medicinal products.

“In this industry, technology is advancing at such a rate that attempting to meet the demand of the future today, may result in missing out on key requirements. We continually assess the demands and requirements of the industry before updating and planning our operations, including the manufacturing center.”