Merit CGT Project
Merit's project at Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s centre in Stevenage.

Gene therapy centre’s £16m renovation completed by North East construction engineers

A North East construction engineering firm has completed on a £16m expansion of a gene therapy centre, which has doubled its capacity.

Merit, which works in the bioscience and pharmaceutical sectors, used its offsite technology to engineer pre-assembled controlled cleanroom modules at its manufacturing centre in Cramlington, to reduce the impact of work and overall build time at Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult’s HQ in Stevenage.

The renovation was undertaken 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, Cell Medica, Freeline Therapeutics and TCR2 Therapeutics.

The project has received over £75m of funding from investors including UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund; the department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy, from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and from the European Regional Development Fund.

Tony Wells, managing director of Merit, said: “Our close collaboration with the team at CGT Catapult was key to the successful delivery of this complex project.

We worked alongside them throughout the programme using our proven expertise in next generation cleanroom manufacturing technology and advanced offsite fabrication capabilities to deliver high-quality cleanrooms that meet the stringent standards of the technical specification.“

Keith Thompson, CEO, Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said: “We are very pleased to be able to double the existing capacity of the CGT Catapult manufacturing centre with help from our partners Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund.

“We would like to thank Merit for supporting the build out of this phase. Thanks to their expertise the new capacity will come online quickly, leveraging the existing MHRA licences, installed quality and operational systems alongside the expertise developed by the Catapult and our collaborators at the centre.”

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