Accelerating academic-led development of novel gene therapies throughout the UK to bring new treatments closer to patients.
The Innovation Hubs for Gene Therapies (IHfGT) are an exciting new initiative, bringing together the collective expertise and capabilities of centres in London, Bristol and Sheffield to enable academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies. The three dedicated hubs will advance the clinical development of new genetic treatments, with potential to transform care for millions of patients including those with rare and life-threatening genetic diseases. The Hubs are situated in academic centres of excellence, each of which work closely with the funders to demonstrate to the community their trustworthiness and integrity as they work together to bring bench research to bedsides. The three national gene therapy innovation Hubs are funded by LifeArc, and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
The Hubs provide comprehensive capabilities for GMP viral vector manufacturing, addressing the primary barrier to academic-led development of gene therapies. This includes clinical grade of Lentivirus and Adeno-Associated viral vector production for early-phase trials, alongside substantial programmes in process innovation, knowledge transfer, and training to address critical skills shortages.
The London Innovation Hub for Gene Therapies (IHfGT)
The London Hub is made up of the renowned King’s College London, University College London and London Royal Free. The London Hub will provide GMP gene therapy vector manufacturing capabilities to academic partners across the UK. The focus will be on providing gene therapy products for early-stage clinical trials for rapid translation of laboratory findings into clinical evaluation.
The London Hub was formed by a collaboration between the London's leading academic centres for gene therapy, to work together on a substantial programme of manufacturing process innovation, aiming to address some of the key manufacturing challenges faced by the field and accelerate the transition into first-in-human studies. The hub will ensure that processes are suitable for transfer into larger-scale manufacturing, in collaboration with downstream industrial partners.
Recognising that experience in gene therapy vector manufacturing is extremely limited across the UK, London Hub members at KCL and UCL created training programmes to build capacity and fill critical skills gaps in the gene therapy sector, both nationally and regionally, covering key skills within the viral vector manufacturing processes, regulatory frameworks and clinical translation of gene therapy research.