A Northern Alliance wins £7m Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre bid

An innovative advanced therapies treatment centre that could revolutionise the treatment of currently incurable diseases looks set to come to the North of England and Scotland.

At the end of January, Minister Sam Gyimah announced the funding of three Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres to facilitate the development, commercialisation and adoption of Cell, Gene and Tissue Engineered Therapies in the UK.

An alliance of advanced therapies companies, NHS organisations and universities in the North of England and Scotland is amongst the successful bids. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund three year grant award from Innovate UK is worth £7m with contributions from commercial partners expected to unlock an additional £2m.

The bid was led by Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service along with 18 other alliance partners.

Neil Watson, Director of Pharmacy at The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Northern Alliance Centre Co-Director said: “We are delighted to be able to lead this new centre tasked with ensuring appropriate access to these innovative medicines for patients across the UK.”

Marc Turner, Medical Director of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service and Co-Director said: “Advanced therapies hold great promise for the treatment of patients with currently incurable diseases and the growth of a new life sciences industry. It’s a great privilege to be involved in growing a UK network to deliver these new therapies into the NHS.”

Neil Bell, SVP, Head of Clinical Operations at Autolus, said: “With the emergence of T-cell therapies, we are seeing a potential revolution in the treatment of cancer. Autolus is delighted to be working with a consortium of experts with the common goal of helping health service providers in the UK prepare for the introduction of next-generation Advanced Therapies.”

Advanced therapies promise to mitigate, and in some cases cure, many of the degenerative diseases and cancers that afflict an ageing population. They are however very different from traditional pharmaceutical medicines and are challenging to implement in a healthcare environment. It is essential that solutions are found to these challenges to increase patient access to new therapies as soon as possible and to facilitate the development of this new and highly innovative industry.

The Northern Alliance will work with partners throughout the North of England and Scotland, with the other Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres in the Midlands, Wales and Manchester, with the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult and with advanced therapies companies, universities and the NHS across the UK to address practical issues relating to the manufacture and supply, evaluation, funding and adoption of this new generation of medicines.

The network, co-ordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, will increase the capacity of the NHS to deliver these disruptive medicines by developing systems and processes within the trusts and hospitals capable of delivering advanced therapies to patients. We plan to share the learnings and systems from our network to other centres in the UK. Once established, the systems could potentially be rolled out as a global model for the adoption of advanced therapies.

The potential commercial and economic value of this sector is large with estimates that it could generate £10bn in revenue for the UK and 18,000 industry jobs by 2035. Locally over the next three years, we expect the project to create high value jobs in industry and within the NHS, and our industrialist partners will develop new therapies, products and services fit for deployment across the NHS.


The Northern Alliance is a partnership between advanced therapies companies, universities and the NHS, covering the North of England and the whole of Scotland.

The Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre partners are:

Autolus, Chiesi Ltd, Cell Medica, Asymptote (part of GE Healthcare), RoslinCT, Datatrial, TrakCel, Alcyomics, World Courier, Fisher BioServices (part of Thermo Fisher Scientific), Miltenyi Biotec, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, NHS Lothian, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Blood and Transplant, The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria, NHS National Services Scotland, Newcastle University and the University of Edinburgh.

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 160 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 Northern England, enquiries should be directed to;

Finn Willingham +44 (0) 191 213 9890 / finn.willingham@nuth.nhs.uk

For Scotland, enquiries should be directed to:

Kirstin Thomson +44 (0) 141 433 5894 / kirstin.thomson@nhs.net

Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult enquiries should be directed to:

Con Franklin +44 (0) 203 319 5560 / con.franklin@fticonsulting.com   

Michael Trace +44 (0) 203 319 5674 / michael.trace@fticonsulting.com

Innovate UK enquiries should be directed to:

PJ Taylor +44 (0) 7950 225001 / pj.taylor@innovateuk.gov.uk  

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