Teesside has further bolstered its reputation as a hub of the bioscience sector with a new cell and gene manufacturing therapy centre.
The National Horizon Centre, part of Teesside University, has been selected as the National Training Centre for the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN).
Last month it was announced a new Covid-19 vaccine will be manufactured in Stockton on Tees prompting a visit by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The NHC is one of three training centres that will deliver high impact courses as part of the growing ATSTN programme, along with RoslinCT in Edinburgh and the University of Birmingham
The NHC, which is based at the university’s Darlington campus at Central Park, opened in 2019 to deliver research, education and collaboration to help grow the UK’s bioscience sector.
ATSTN is a nationwide skills development programme driven by industry and coordinated by the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult. It was funded £4.7m as part of the Government’s commitment to expand advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing.
It aims develop a coordinated network of centres to deliver on-site courses including those using virtual reality, providing learners with the hands-on expertise and experience to succeed in the advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing sector.
Dr Jen Vanderhoven, director of the National Horizons Centre, said: “Collaboration is the key to success and I am delighted that the NHC has been chosen as one of the national ATSTN centres to provide the vital training of the future advanced therapies and vaccines workforce.
“The NHC, with its leading expertise, state-of-the-art bioprocessing and virtual reality capabilities, is perfectly positioned to up-skill and cross-skill hundreds of people in the coming months.
“We will deliver the necessary technical hands-on training to create the workforce needed to manufacture vaccines and advanced therapies, to overcome Covid-19 and any future pandemics and diseases.
Matthew Durdy, chief executive of the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, welcomed the news.
He said: “This is a significant step in driving the effective development and rollout of state-of-the-art and impactful training courses which can rapidly upskill and attract talent within the advanced therapies and vaccine manufacturing industry.
“The involvement of the National Horizons Centre will enable the ATSTN to provide users with a wide variety of exciting training resources which are at the forefront of innovation.”