UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Cell Therapy Biology, Bioprocessing and Clinical Translation

Course Title BENGM004
Level Four
Credits 0.5
Course Tutors Dr Ivan Wall and Professor Chris Mason
Assessment Three-hour written examination (70%)
Coursework (workshops, written report and presentation) 30%
Prerequisites BENG3012 or equivalent Biology module


The course provides the biochemical engineering student with the necessary knowledge to understand the translational challenges of moving from promising scientific discoveries through to advanced therapeutic products for use in routine clinical practice. A coordinated series of lectures examines these challenges, from rigorously assessing robustness of the science that underpins a therapy, to understanding the critical pathways to clinic and considerations for commercialization of advanced therapies.

Learning Hours


Lectures: 30
Workshops/Case studies: 20


The course expands on the core cell biology knowledge acquired from the third year course BENG3012 (Applied Molecular Biology) to gain understanding of the scientific, clinical and commercial interactions required to translate basic science into a routinely deployed advanced therapy. In particular, the course examines the requirements for cutting edge platform technologies that offer a paradigm shift in medical care and intervention of diseases that are becoming more problematic as the global population ages. The underlying requirement is to produce quality therapies that are safe, clinically effective and cost effective. Throughout the course, all the material is based on real world examples and data.

Major themes: Stem cells, tissue engineering, gene therapy.

Subthemes: Basic science research underpinning candidate cell therapy interventions, research and development process, clinical trials, regulation, bioprocessing, reimbursement, translation cycle, law and ethics.

Research, development and full commercialisation (including post market surveillance). Impact of stage of development (including animal studies, clinical trials), timelines, resources and outcomes. Development cycle and product life. Patents and other IPR approaches.

Impact on bioprocessing unit operations on production of cells for therapy from the perspective of the economics, speed to market, regulation, current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) including current Good Clinical Practice (cGCP). Students will work in small groups (<5), to create reports and presentations focused on clinical trials of advanced therapies for final assessment.