The UK is considered to be Europe’s leading biotech hub for life science startup funding, with biotech startups raising £2.8 billion in 2020, as they increasingly became relevant in developing treatments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data released in 2021 by the UK Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, the UK accounts for over 12% of global gene and cell therapy (or advanced therapy medicinal product – ATMP) clinical trials. By 2035, it is expected that the UK cell and gene therapy sector could be worth £10 billion and provide 18,000 jobs.
That's why UK biotech company Ascend is raising $130 million to bolster the UK’s cell and gene therapy industry. Founded in 2021, Ascend wants to address a significant capacity bottleneck that slows down the treatments getting to patients. The company last raised $66.6 million in March 2023 in an unknown round of funding. Last November, Ascend acquired Freeline Therapeutics for $25 million.
With this latest funding, Ascend plans to buy up manufacturing facilities and expert teams from cash-strapped cell and gene therapy start-ups, capitalising on the sell-off in the sector, according to a report from the Financial Times.