Merit wins contract to deliver Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre expansion

Merit has been chosen to deliver the third phase expansion of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult) manufacturing centre in Stevenage, further increasing the capacity of the facility which plays a crucial role in bringing advanced cell and gene therapies to patients.

The company will use its advanced offsite manufacturing technology and specialist expertise in building controlled environments to deliver seven new Quality Control laboratories at the facility.

Merit completed construction of the expansion phase of the manufacturing centre in October last year using its unique off-site ‘PAM’ (pre-assembled module) approach delivering significant cost, programme and quality benefits.

For these new laboratories, Merit will take the off-site approach to the next level with only 10% of the labour content carried out on site. The company will engineer pre-assembled analytical QC laboratory space at its offsite advanced manufacturing centre reducing the build time by 33% and delivering significant cost savings to the project while also avoiding disruption to research and manufacturing at the Stevenage facility.

Tony Wells, Managing Director, Merit, said: “We are delighted to have the opportunity to continue to work with the team at CGT Catapult and are proud to have an integral role in the development of such a pioneering off-site initiative. Our proprietary ‘Instant Building’ technology combines advanced offsite manufacturing with the technical expertise to deliver complex solutions in significantly shorter build schedules. We have a detailed knowledge of the project after successfully completing the expansion phase last year and look forward to working closely with CGT Catapult to once again deliver a high quality facility.”

Backed by over £75 million of funding, including investment from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; the department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, the European Regional Development Fund and from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, the centre is providing the infrastructure and expertise to enable companies to develop their manufacturing capabilities and systems for large scale, commercial cell and gene therapy supply. Companies currently collaborating at the centre are Adaptimmune, Autolus, Freeline Therapeutics and TCR2 Therapeutics.

Keith Thompson, CEO, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said:

“It is a pleasure to work with Merit again to expand our laboratory space to provide additional analytical capabilities at the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre. Merit provided diligent support and ensured minimal disruption during the building of our expansion phase at the centre, and this is crucial to maintaining the facility operational for us and our collaborating companies manufacturing therapies, in an operational GMP compliant state. We look forward to working with Merit again on what is another significant project for CGT Catapult.”

Merit is one of the UK’s leading engineering and construction specialists company prides itself on the ability to design and engineer controlled environment solutions for the bioscience, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, aviation and nuclear sectors, specialising in delivery of complex cleanroom construction and M&E services that require stringent regulatory approvals.  Merit has delivered complex projects for a wide range of clients that include Rolls Royce, GSK, Lifescan, Cell Gene Therapy Catapult and UKBIC operating from offices across the UK.

About the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult

The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult was established as an independent centre of excellence to advance the growth of the UK cell and gene therapy industry, by bridging the gap between scientific research and full-scale commercialisation. With more than 200 employees focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, it works with partners in academia and industry to ensure these life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world. It offers leading-edge capability, technology and innovation to enable companies to take products into clinical trials and provide clinical, process development, manufacturing, regulatory, health economics and market access expertise. Its aim is to make the UK the most compelling and logical choice for UK and international partners to develop and commercialise these advanced therapies. The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information please visit ct.catapult.org.uk or visit http://www.gov.uk/innovate-uk.

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