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Article: World Courier to support Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres (ATTCs)

By World Courier

Specialist centres will bring together industry, academic and NHS partners to accelerate advanced therapy development and commercialisation in the UK.

As part of Innovate UK’s commitment to invest up to £30m in a network of ATTCs, World Courier is pleased to announce our inclusion in two of the alliances; 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). 

The partners in these consortiums all have specific expertise in different aspects of delivering advanced therapies. Logistics is a key part of the supply chain which connects therapies to patients.  

World Courier will work closely with clinicians, therapy developers and other key parts of the supply chain to understand and minimise the complexity within the vein-to-vein supply chain for advanced therapies. Collaborators, including World Courier, will use this insight to help create seamless logistics for patients, across the NHS and other health systems globally.

"We are incredibly proud to be playing our part to realise the full potential of advanced therapies in the NHS. As well as building capacity in the health system to deliver these transformative medicines, this collaboration will further boost the appeal of the UK as a place to develop and commercialise advanced therapies," said Alex Guite, Vice President Strategy and Services at World Courier.

Advanced therapies, which include cell or gene therapies, show great potential in treating patients with conditions that cannot be cured with current treatments. These include arthritis, liver disease, several types of cancer, and diabetic ulcers. These therapies are just beginning to be available, with the UK playing a leading role. However, even when new therapies are developed and shown to be effective, there are major challenges in rolling them out to patients. The reasons for this include: complexities in transporting a 'living' product, and lack of familiarity with such products in most NHS hospitals.

To address these challenges and secure the UK’s position as an attractive regional hub for advanced therapy development and commercialisation, the ATTCs will:

  • Set up a network of hospitals with medical staff trained to receive and administer advanced therapies
  • Build seamless supply chains that ensure that 'living medicines' remain healthy and effective as they are moved from the production laboratory to the bedside
  • Put in place the IT systems to manage the end-to-end process
  • Validate this new infrastructure using real advanced therapies
  • Deliver a programme that uses this infrastructure to speed up the testing of advanced therapies in clinical trials
  • Set-up protocols to test whether the cost of a new advanced therapies is justified by its clinical effectiveness

"Innovate UK’s investment in the Advanced Therapies Treatment Centres is a crucial component of the government’s modern industrial strategy. They will support the deployment of cutting edge cell and gene science to tackle some of the most debilitating conditions that patients face today. These centres will also help to maintain and boost the UK’s global leadership in this sector, delivering new revenue and growth for the healthcare economy," said Dr Ruth McKernan, Chief Executive at Innovate UK.