Merit Complete UK’s First CAR-T Cell Manufacturing Facility for Autolus Therapeutics
Leading offsite engineering and construction specialists for technically complex buildings, Merit, has announced the completion of the first stage of its £66m CAR-T cell manufacturing facility – the first of its kind in the UK.
The new purpose-built four-story, 7,500m2 facility, of which Merit are the main contractor, will be used by growing clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Autolus Theraputics to expand its capacity for the development of next-generation programmed T cell therapies targeting cancers.
At its completion, the facility is expected to create 400 new jobs and have the capacity to process 2000 treatments every year.
This facility will form part of the world’s third largest cluster of cell and gene therapy manufactures in the world, situated within the Stevenage, UK, life science hub – a project led by developers Reef Group and UBS Assets Management.
“Combining the expertise and capability of UrbanR, our in-house design division, with Merit’s innovative and technology-based approach from concept design to commissioning and validation, produced a unique and successful recipe for accelerating the construction programme of what is very a complicated project. We look forward to collaborating on future projects in the knowledge economy across our platform,” said Piers Slater, Chief Executive of Reef Group.
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The first phase of this project has been completed in just 17 months including planning and designing, with only 12 of these spent on site. This is 3 years faster than the industry standard.
This construction milestone has already seen Autolus provided with Grade C clean rooms, with the whole project predicted to be completed by Merit at an accelerated 22 months.
Merit has utilized its FLEXI POD® platform – a hybrid solution for the construction of high technology facilities – to mix modern methods of construction with an offsite manufactured fit-out using a Pre-Assembled Module and POD strategy, with three-quarters of the build – 900 tones – being manufactured off-site at Merit’s Northumberland-based factory.
This innovative approach to construction increases productivity – saving Autolus capital and revenue and consultant costs – as well as sustainability – reducing project carbon emissions.
In fact, the facility has been designed according to BREEAM Excellent rating, with scope 1 net zero carbon enabled using heat source pumps and heat recovery systems and 5D BIM technology to reduce waste.
“We are very proud to have been able to deploy our unique offsite construction methods to deliver this vital facility in record time. Productivity is an issue in traditional construction methods, but our approach means projects are delivered more quickly and also crucially more sustainably,” comments Tony Wells, CEO of Merit.
Source: Merit Press Release
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