Construction begins on new multi-million gene therapy innovation centre

A groundbreaking event has been held to mark the start of construction work for a new gene therapy innovation centre, which is set to advance scientific discoveries and promising treatment options for many life-threatening diseases.

Left to right:Paul Turner, Robertson Yorkshire & East Midlands Managing Director, Prof Sue Hartley, University of Sheffield Vice-President for Research, Dan Jarvis, Mayor of South Yorkshire, & Prof Mimoun Azzouz, University of Sheffield GTIMC Hub Director

Building work on the University of Sheffield’s Gene Therapy Innovation and Manufacturing Centre (GTIMC) is now underway by Robertson Construction Group on site at the University’s Innovation District. The new centre will be close to existing translational research facilities and will contribute to an ongoing programme of regional investment and regeneration. 

The GTIMC is one of three pioneering hubs in a new £18 million network funded by LifeArc and the Medical Research Council (MRC), with support from the Biotechnology Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Gene therapy is a promising treatment option for more than 7,000 rare diseases that currently have no cure. It aims to treat these conditions by engineering another gene to replace, silence or manipulate the faulty one.

The state-of-the-art centre will bring together academic institutions, NHS trusts, non-profit and industry partners across the north of England, Midlands and Wales enabling academic-led clinical trials of novel gene therapies. The GTIMC will deliver essential translational and regulatory support alongside extensive training and skills programmes to enable upskilling and address shortage of skills in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) manufacturing.

Alongside the national network funding from LifeArc, the MRC and BBSRC, as well as support from the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the GTIMC was made possible thanks to a £3 million donation from The Law Family Charitable Foundation, established by Andrew Law and his wife Zoë. This funding was part of a record £5.85 million donation from the University of Sheffield alumnus, which will also see the launch of a new student support programme.