Rentschler catapults into the cell and gene therapy space through UK investment

German CDMO Rentschler will set up manufacturing capabilities at the UK’s Cell and Gene Therapy (CGT) Catapult, launching itself into the regenerative medicine space.

Family-owned contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO) Rentschler offers mammalian manufacturing and fill and finish services for biologics but has now expanded into cell and gene therapy production through a deal with the CGT Catapult, based in Stevenage, UK.

Rentschler will establish its manufacturing capabilities – including adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector production – through “a significant investment at the site over the next five years,” said a spokesperson from the CDMO.

The CGT Catapult in Stevenage, UK

Rentschler had dabbled in viral vector production in the past, but a growing client need drove this latest partnership, the spokesperson told BioProcess Insider.

 

“We were perhaps too early to the cell and gene therapy space about 10 years ago with our foray into viral vectors. Hence, when we defined our Strategy 2025 a few years ago, cell and gene therapy was a topic that we had been thinking about intensively. After successful integrating our Milford site in the US we are now taking the next strategic step in our journey.”

Financial details have not been disclosed, but a spokesperson from the CGT Catapult told us: “Capabilities and expertise developed will be shared by CGT Catapult and Rentschler Biopharma and made accessible to Rentschler Biopharma clients and the UK cell and gene therapy industry more generally.”

They added: “There is a natural synergy between the CGT Catapult mission and Rentschler Biopharma’s expansion strategy to respond to their clients’ needs by building significant advanced therapy capabilities and establish a UK manufacturing footprint, and so CGT Catapult responded accordingly backed by strong support from the UK Government and its Department for International Trade.”

British islets?

The CGT Catapult was established by non-departmental government body Innovate UK in 2017 to support the burgeoning Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) sector.

Since then, the institution has bagged a number of residents, including Achilles Therapeutics, Autolus, Freeline, Adaptimmune and TCR2 and expanded on the back of high demand for cell and gene therapy manufacturing services – we were told there was an 86% utilization rate of existing cell and gene GMP manufacturing facilities in 2020 (80% is considered full).

“With the largest industry cluster for cell and gene therapies outside the US, the UK is an ideal location for Rentschler Biopharma to establish their ATMP capabilities,” we were told. “The UK has been and is supporting these new therapies and has created one of the best communities to foster academic research in this area and to translate it into clinical application.”

According to the Catapult, currently 27% of European ATMP companies are operating in the UK. Furthermore, the last year has also seen a 50% increase in the number of ATMP clinical trials being run in the UK, accounting for 12% of global ATMP clinical trials.

“A fundamental part of the CGT Catapult’s mission is to ensure the UK remains a global leader in developing and bringing cell and gene therapies to market. A key driver of this strategy is attracting inward investment to strengthen the UK ecosystem and grow the industry, helping to meet rising demand for manufacturing space and skilled staff in our sector as more cell and gene therapies reach clinical trials.”

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