The Technology Strategy Board has appointed life science innovator Keith Thompson as Chief Executive Officer of the Catapult centre in cell therapy.
Mr Thompson brings strong leadership and considerable senior executive and management experience in the biotechnology industry both in the UK and abroad.
Mr Thompson, who will start on 1 May, will be responsible for short and long-term objectives of the Catapult, including where the centre will be based and recruiting an executive team.
He will also be in charge of developing and delivering against a robust business plan and key milestones that will help grow the industry.
When operational, the cell therapy Catapult will work to grow a viable and sustainable UK-based cell therapy industry with access to finance, clinical and technical expertise to allow the rapid exploitation of cell therapies.
The Catapult will enable the UK to be a global leader in the development and commercial exploitation of cell therapies and encourage inward investment to support the growth of the commercial sector.
It will also work with UK companies to help turn innovations in cell therapies into commercial products capable of transforming the lives of people with serious or chronic illnesses.
Mr Thompson joins the Catapult from the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service (SNBTS). As Director of the SNBTS he was responsible for all aspects of the service including the safe and sufficient supply of blood and tissues, as well as diversifying its capability to offer cell-based therapies.
Prior to this, Thompson held various senior domestic and international positions at Serologicals where he designed, built and licensed major biotechnology manufacturing facilities in the UK, US and Canada, to produce monoclonal antibodies and mammalian cell culture supplements.
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said: “We are delighted that Keith has joined us at this important stage of establishing the Catapult. He has shown strong leadership qualities throughout his career and brings considerable life science and international business experience to the Catapult. His US experience with Serologicals sends a powerful message regarding our ambition to quickly establish an international reputation for the Cell Therapy Catapult.”
Keith Thompson said: “The Cell Therapy Catapult is an exciting initiative, which promises to offer the next major advances in healthcare using cells to repair, regenerate and replace damaged tissues. The UK has led the science of cell therapy and the Catapult aims to help translate this into real benefits for patients and business.”
The Catapult is part of a network of world-leading technology and innovation centers established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board as a long-term investment that will open up global opportunities for the UK and generate economic growth for the future.
The cell therapy Catapult will be based in London and aims to open for business in the autumn.