Wales to gain equitable access to advanced therapies
29 Jul 2020
Advanced Therapies Wales (ATW) programme has been established to harness the benefits from emerging and transformative therapies for the people of Wales and is pleased to announce its official launch on 4 August, 2020. The programme aims to collaborate with strategic partners and stakeholders to provide patients with equitable access to emerging Advanced Therapies Medicinal Products (ATMPs) to improve health, well-being and prosperity for the people of Wales.
Funded by the Welsh Government, the programme played a significant role in bringing chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy to Wales, through collaborating with its key industry partners.
CAR-T therapy is a form of precision medicine which involves genetically modifying an individual’s immune cells to recognise and destroy cancer cells; thereby providing the hope for treating conditions which have been resistant to other forms of medications and treatments.
Minister for Health Vaughan Gething said, “I am proud that Wales is home to a vibrant healthcare research sector and thanks to the Advanced Therapies Wales programme, we have the opportunity to become a recognised leader in this exciting and innovative field.
“By working in partnership with our industry, NHS, academic and 3rd sector colleagues, we can realise the full potential of advanced therapies and improve the outcomes for people suffering from a range of chronic, rare, incurable and lifestyle-related diseases.“
Expert panel discussion: 4 August launch event
As part of the launch and in partnership with ATW, Life Sciences Hub Wales will host an expert panel discussion on the Welsh Advanced Therapies landscape and the opportunities it presents for industry, academia and healthcare.
The virtual Q&A event dubbed ‘ATMPs – The Landscape, Challenges & Opportunities in Wales’ will take place on Tuesday 4 August 2020 at 12 noon, BST and will feature a range of industry experts.
The 90-minute session will cover the challenges, opportunities and potential of precision medicine in Wales. Cath O’Brien MBE, Director for Welsh Blood Service and Life Sciences Hub Wales board member, will chair the event which will include participation from:
Prof. Steve Conlan, Head of Enterprise and Innovation - Swansea University Medical School
Dr. Mark Brigg, Head of Cell and Gene Therapy - Welsh Blood Service and Head of ATW
Len Richards, Chief Executive - Cardiff and Vale University Health Board
Len Richards who is also the Senior Responsible Officer for the programme said, “I am thrilled about the launch of Advanced Therapies Wales and the significant hope that precision medicine offers for areas of high unmet medical need including the long-term management and even cure of disease.
“These treatments are very different to how we currently run our services and I am confident there will be major opportunities around production, transportation and application of ATMPs as we strive towards a healthier Wales.”
Life Sciences Hub Wales is a key delivery partner for the Welsh Advanced Therapies (Adv TX) programme, and is committed to collaborating with a variety of special interest groups and consortiums that will help provide a supply chain for Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products across Wales and the West Midlands.
Cari-Anne Quinn, CEO of Life Sciences Hub Wales said: “We are excited by the current ATMP progress being made in Wales and fully committed to supporting the trial and adoption of new treatments in Advanced Therapies Wales. Our remit is to engage with industry providers that can help us create a sustainable supply chain for gene and cell therapy in Wales and we look forward to the next phase of this development”.
ATW will also be unveiling a new website which will be the digital home to the latest programme news, events and industry insights, and can be accessed by visiting www.advancedtherapies.wales.