Cell Therapy Catapult Awards Major Contract to Cellular Therapeutics Limited to Accelerate WT1 Clinical Programme

LONDON--()--The Cell Therapy Catapult has awarded a manufacturing contract to Manchester-based company, Cellular Therapeutics Limited (CTL), to accelerate its clinical programme to develop an engineered T cell treatment for blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukaemia and myelodysplastic syndrome.

The contract will run for the next 2-3 years, supporting the current Phase I and II trials which involves the genetic modification of the patient's own T cells, so that they may recognise and destroy WT1-expressing cancer cells when infused back into the body.

CTL was selected through a rigorous qualification, tender and evaluation process which demonstrated the strength and depth of expertise available in the UK, and it complements the work carried out in collaboration with Imperial College London, University College London and Great Ormond Street Hospital, with scientists led by Prof Hans Stauss and Dr Emma Morris, and originally funded by the charity Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Demand for immune cell therapy manufacturing is rapidly expanding globally and this contract puts CTL in a strong position to win more business and bring more cell and gene therapy investment to the UK. This complements the Cell Therapy Catapult's £55 million large-scale GMP cell therapy manufacturing centre intended for late-stage trials and full commercialisation which is due to open in 2017.

Keith Thompson, CEO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, said: "This contract will greatly enhance our WT1 clinical programme and accelerate this research intended to benefit patients with these life-threatening disorders. We were looking for a company with the depth of expertise needed to manufacture a novel immune cell therapy and we were impressed by Professor Robert Hawkins and the team at Cellular Therapeutics."

Professor Robert Hawkins, CEO of Cellular Therapeutics Ltd, said: "Cellular Therapeutics Ltd is delighted to be working with the Cell Therapy Catapult to manufacture cells for patients in this ground breaking trial. In the growing field of immuno-oncology, CTL is at the forefront of cell therapy manufacturing in Europe having a wealth of T cell therapy manufacturing and clinical trial experience built over many years in collaboration with the Christie Hospital and University of Manchester. Importantly, this contract will also help us obtain further manufacturing contracts and develop our business including our own cancer cell therapy products based on tumour infiltrating lymphocytes."

Further Information on the WT1 programme is available here and details on Cellular Therapeutics Ltd here.

Notes to Editors

About the Cell Therapy Catapult

The Cell Therapy Catapult was established in 2012 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 100 employees focusing on cell and gene therapy technologies, we work with our partners in academia and industry to ensure these life-changing therapies can be developed for use in health services throughout the world. We offer 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. We aim to make the UK the most compelling and logical choice for UK and international partners to develop and commercialise these advanced therapies. Regenerative medicine is one of the UK government's eight great technologies that support UK science strengths and business capabilities. The Cell Therapy Catapult works with Innovate UK. For more information go to ct.catapult.org.uk or visit www.gov.uk/innovate-uk.

About Cellular Therapeutics Ltd

Cellular Therapeutics Ltd (CTL) is a specialist cell therapy company focusing on immuno-oncology. The company developed from academic groups in Cancer Studies at the University of Manchester and has over 20 years of experience in this sector. CTL has been in commercial operation since 2013 - it is based in the University of Manchester Innovation Centre (UMIC) and maintains strong clinical and technical links with its founding academic group and with the Christie NHS Foundation Trust. The company has state of the art clinical grade (GMP) cell therapy manufacturing facilities licensed by the MHRA for production of cell therapies to be used in clinical trials across the whole of Europe. Focusing on T cell therapy and immune-oncology, it is currently producing a range of T cell technologies within and outside of clinical trials, both alone and in collaboration with other European companies. It also has extensive knowledge of Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocyte (TIL) technology, which is being successfully employed as a personalised cell therapy product for the treatment of advanced melanoma and is being developed by CTL in other indications as a marketed medicine. www.cellulartherapeutics.co.uk