UCL News


UCL named key strategic partner in EU’s new ‘Centre for the Technologies of Gene and Cell Therapy’

23 December 2022

Scientists at UCL will play key roles in the new landmark €30m EU-funded ‘Centre for the Technologies of Gene and Cell Therapy’, helping develop advanced drugs for the treatment of rare and incurable diseases.

new ‘Centre for the Technologies of Gene and Cell Therapy’

The National Institute of Chemistry in Slovenia has received a €30 million investment from the European Union to establish a new Centre for the Technologies of Gene and Cell Therapy (CTGCT). The Centre will enable the development of advanced therapies and technologies for the treatment of rare diseases and cancers including neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer immunotherapy.

The development of new, personalised therapies will be supported by doctors, physicians and scientists at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana. The centre will provide patients faster access to information and advanced treatments. The CTGCT will therefore provide an important link between cutting-edge biomedical research and clinical practice.

UCL scientists will act as a trusted experienced partner to the Centre, to support the transfer of knowledge of translation of Advanced Therapies (ATMPs) through to the clinical and commercial setting. The team will also advise on the organisation of the centre and support training of Centre staff in translation and ATMP regulations. This project may also facilitate cross-partner scientific collaborations to address current challenges and hurdles in progressing novel ATMP therapies in oncology and rare genetic diseases.

The CTGCT will utilise the knowledge and experience of a team from across UCL with specialist disease, clinical, manufacturing, project and grant management expertise from:

  • Dr Jane Kinghorn (Director, UCL Translational Research Office) is the UCL lead and has extensive experience in developing therapies to clinical benefit and in forming strategic partnerships with industry, patients and NHS.
  • Dr Pamela Tranter (UCL Translational Research Office), heads up the Translational Research Office with responsibility for managing the product lifecycle of UCL’s biomedical portfolio working closely with internal and external resources required to move the product into the clinic.
  • Professor Emma Morris (UCL Infection & Immunity and Consultant Haematologist), has a specific interest in T-cell immunology and allogenic stem cell transplantation for haematological malignancies and primary immune deficiencies.
  • Professor Rafiq Qasim (UCL Biochemical Engineering), is a multidisciplinary engineer working at the life science, engineering and commercial interfaces with a research focus on the bioprocessing, automation and biomanufacture of cell and gene-based therapies.
  • Professor Gipi Schiavo’s (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology), team is focused on proving the hypothesis that impairment of the selectivity and, or efficiency of long-range communication in neurons caused by defects in membrane traffic constitute a major pathogenic mechanism in the nervous system.
  • Professor Pietro Fratta (UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology), has a specific interest in MND genetics and Kennedy’s disease, and runs an MND Genetics clinic and a Kennedy’s disease clinic, the only dedicated clinic to this disease in the UK.
  • Professor Stephanie Schorge (UCL Biosciences), has recently focused on developing a portfolio of gene therapy approaches to treat severe drug-refractory epilepsy. Supported by collaborators, her approach is now funded through a first in human trial due to begin recruiting patients in 2022.
  • Mr Martin Scott (Head of European Innovation Management), engages with colleagues and collaborators worldwide to help them to take great ideas from labs to markets.

Dr Jane Kinghorn said: “Advanced therapies hold the promise to transform healthcare for patients with some of the most severe and debilitating conditions, but to do this requires partnership. Building partnerships is at the heart of UCL’s ethos of excellence, inclusivity and global outreach, and as such we are delighted to be a partner in this European Teaming Grant.”

“UCL are world leading in the translation of these therapies and we are looking forward to sharing knowledge across the partnership in support of the next generation of scientists in Slovenia and across Europe,” added Dr Kinghorn.

The CTGCT project is funded through the European call Widening - Teaming for Excellence. The aim of this call is to strengthen the research and innovation capacities in Member States, Associated Countries and remote regions that would benefit from the collaboration with successful research institutions in this field. The partner institutions of this project include UCL, Utrecht University Medical Centre, Charité University Hospital Berlin, and Technical University Dresden.

The CTGCT is scheduled to start in the second half of 2023 and will run for six years. The centre will be built in a new facility on the grounds of the National Institute of Chemistry in Ljubljana, Slovenia.



  • Credit: National Institute of Chemistry/CTGCT

Media contact 

Molly Bridge

E: molly.bridge [at] ucl.ac.uk