The Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult hosts workshop to tackle key challenges in advanced therapy adoption by the NHS
Expert stakeholders brought together to explore how the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre network can drive access to cell and gene therapies
Deployment into the NHS, affordability, payment and reimbursement of cell and gene therapies were the focus of the day
Cell and gene therapies are showing transformative potential across a range of disease areas, including blood cancers, solid tumours, immune modulation, tissue, and organ repair. Examples include the growing promise of CAR-T cell therapies in oncology. Introducing cell and gene therapies as routine practice into the National Health Service requires setup of new systems from the ones currently in use. There are multiple obstacles to overcome because of the great complexity involved in the development, manufacturing and delivery of these disruptive therapies.
Key stakeholders from industry, payers, NHS and patient groups came together for a day to address the practical steps required for adoption of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMPs), such as cell and gene therapies, by the NHS. Participants in the ‘’ATTCs, clinical infrastructure requirement and adoption of Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products’’ workshop, at the Royal College of General Practitioners, ranged from large pharmaceutical groups to small biotech companies, supply chain providers, industry groups, NICE, regulators, charities and NHS clinicians and pharmacists.
The Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres (ATTCs) network was set up in March 2018, funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund under Innovate UK (IUK) to address these challenges. Working in collaboration with the London advanced therapy network, the nationwide ATTC network aims to develop easily-run solutions for adoption of cell and gene therapies that can be rolled-out across the NHS to ensure these treatments can reach increasing numbers of patients.
Among the topics dealt with at the workshop were procurement, manufacturing scale-up, supply chain issues, frontline delivery to patients, health economics and reimbursement: how will the NHS cope with the often-high upfront cost of potentially life-saving cell and gene therapies that can bring a lifetime of benefits? Actions were suggested for the various stakeholders in order for the field to overcome these challenges. A summary of findings from the workshop can be found here.
As network coordinator of the ATTCs Network, CGT Catapult hosted the workshop, in collaboration with the UK BioIndustry Association and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
The objectives of the workshop were to engage with key stakeholders to:
- Address how the ATTCs are trying to build a nationwide NHS network of expert centres to deliver advanced therapies
- Understand the challenges the industry and NHS face
- Define the steps each stakeholder could take to form a coordinated approach to adoption of ATMPs
Key points raised during the day included the need to address data sharing, protocol standardisation, and speed of access as well as the importance of involving patients in the development process; the need for advanced planning and investment in infrastructure to accommodate new ways of working; and the need to ensure government support and understanding of the great potential of cell and gene therapies to be transformative for patient care.
Jacqueline Barry, Chief Clinical Officer of the CGT Catapult, and moderator of the event, said:
“Our first workshop engaging the various stakeholders with the IUK funded ATTC network and London Advanced Therapy Network was a success, bringing together some of the best and brightest minds to tackle the challenging task of delivering these disruptive therapies in the current healthcare setting. It is only through all these groups working together that we will manage to break the barriers of adoption for cell and gene therapies and this event was a significant initial step forward. We are excited to further enhance collaboration between the NHS and industry to ensure that the UK is at the forefront of advanced therapies and treatments for patients.”
Keith Thompson, Chief Executive Officer of the CGT Catapult, commented:
“The ATTC network will work together with its partners to address the priorities addressed at the September workshop to promote better patient access to ATMPs across the country. As coordinator of this innovate UK ATTC network, the CGT Catapult looks forward to supporting the establishment of the necessary processes, skilled staff and infrastructure for making the delivery of highly complex therapies a reality for patients in the UK and globally.”
About the Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres
The centres; Innovate Manchester Advanced Therapy Centre Hub (iMATCH), the Midlands-Wales Advanced Therapy Treatment Centre (MW-ATTC, comprising Birmingham, Wales and Nottingham) and the Northern Alliance Advanced Therapies Treatment Centre (NAATTC, comprising Scotland, Newcastle and Leeds) will develop systems and processes within the trusts and hospitals capable of delivering advanced therapies at scale to patients across the NHS. The learnings and systems from the initial centres will be rolled out to other centres in the UK. In March 2018, the centres were awarded £21 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund with further funding available to support the delivery of projects by the network.