Last week engineering firm M+W was contracted to build the £55m ($84m), 7,200m2 facility at a site in Stevenage by UK Government project, Cell Therapy Catapult, which said the facility will provide production space for cell and gene therapy developers.
CTC CEO Keith Thompson told this publication that M+W had been selected over a number of competing bids from other engineering firms, adding that the “level of interest was high from the market.”
He explained that: “Cost was one element of a balanced approach to the bid qualification process. Cell Therapy Catapult looked at various parameters, of which quality and cost were very important elements to deliver the most economic advantageous tender.”
The facility is intended to provide space for companies to produce their own cell therapy products - from clinical trial stage candidates to approved cell therapies according to Thompson, who said this necessitates a flexible design.
“CTC has worked closely with UK and international industry to ensure the design offers the current and future flexibility they require from the facility. M+W and their supply chain are now working on a final technical design that will bring manufacturability into the design.”
Flexible designs are a challenge according to Thompson who said enabling companies to use their preferred production technologies “has added complexity to the design process, which also has to integrate with qualification and validation strategies for a multi-product facility.”
“The design has progressed from the Design Phase to the Technical Design Phase. This is all on schedule to complete in a few week’s time. The first phase of the site enabling works has been completed and the advanced construction works have commenced.”