Cell and gene therapy are at the very cutting edge of modern medicine, with their life-changing potential only just starting to be realised.
Hopes are high that these regenerative therapies will eventually cure billions of patients of diseases, whether that’s enabling the immune system to fight cancer or editing genes to cure currently untreatable diseases and genetic defects at source.
In the last few years, cell and gene therapy in the UK has expanded from being solely in the NHS and academia to emerging in the commercial space - and investment is now growing rapidly which means that in research, development and manufacturing, this country enjoys a key position in these pioneering advances.
The statistics back this up. According to the Life Sciences Organisation, part of the government’s Department for International Trade, nearly one in three of Europe’s 400 plus small and medium enterprises (SMEs) active in advanced therapy medicinal products are based in the UK. The number of advanced therapy companies more than doubled between 2012 and 2015.
Research by Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, a centre of excellence based in Guy’s Hospital, London which aims to help academia and business to take inventions and turn them into products, shows that cell and gene therapy clinical trials increased by 37% between 2017 and early 2019.
Plus, there’s been a 60% increase in manufacturing space since November 2017 - mainly since the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult opened a state-of-the-art manufacturing centre in Stevenage to help bring therapies to market more effectively - and with that a 30% increase in available jobs too.
Researching and developing these life-changing products takes a skilled workforce, and there’s projected to be a skills and capabilities shortage in the cell and gene therapy sector - a troubling point if the industry is to sustain its current trajectory (and particularly given the uncertainty over Brexit).
The UK needs talented engineers, scientists and business specialists but because the industry is still relatively new, there is a definite shortage.
At RHL we’re working with clients from biotech and pharma businesses as well as hospitals and academic institutions who need to find the right talent for pre-clinical research and development right the way through to commercialisation.
Our clients have an urgent need for technical, operational and clinical experts. As well as life sciences experts trained in cell biology, tissue engineering and immunology, demand in areas of regulatory affairs and chemistry, manufacturing and control (CMC) are also strong.
Due to the growth of business in the cell and gene therapy sector, business development, licensing and IP (intellectual property) are specialisms that are becoming more sought after, too.
Cell and gene therapy have the potential to change the world. And the fact there’s been so much investment in facilities and manufacturing capacity - and of course jobs - makes it an exciting time for recruitment in this sector if you have a technical, operational or clinical life sciences background.
These advances bring unlimited scope for talented candidates to be part of innovative breakthroughs, at whatever level, and help develop these advanced therapies patients need.
If you’re interested in careers in cell and gene therapy - or life sciences in general - get in touch to find out about the exciting projects we’re recruiting for right now.