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Travers Smith advises Benchmark Holdings on the sale of its vaccine manufacturing assets to Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult


Travers Smith LLP has advised its long-standing, AIM-listed client, Benchmark Holdings plc on the sale of the business and assets relating to its vaccine manufacturing facility at Braintree, UK to Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult).

CGT Catapult is a centre of excellence in innovation, with the core purpose of building a world-leading cell and gene therapy sector in the UK as a key part of a global industry. CGT Catapult is supported by Innovate UK, with a mission to drive the growth of the industry by helping cell and gene therapy organisations across the world translate early stage research into commercially viable and investable therapies. CGT Catapult counts over 230 experts, state of the art development and viral vector laboratories and a large scale GMP manufacturing centre helping bring cell and gene therapies to market in the UK and internationally.

The facility will be used to accelerate the mass production of a successful COVID-19 vaccine in the UK. Due to open in December 2021, the centre will have the capacity to produce millions of doses each month, ensuring the UK has the capabilities to manufacture vaccines and advanced medicines, including for emerging diseases, far into the future.

Benchmark’s Braintree facility and team have a wide range of GMP (good manufacturing practice) accredited capabilities including antigen production, formulation, process development and scale manufacturing and can be rapidly repurposed to produce human vaccines. The state-of-the-art facility, which was completed in 2017, employs 75 highly qualified staff who will transfer to CGT Catapult on completion of the sale.

The Travers Smith team was led by Corporate Partner Anthony Foster with support from Senior Associate Ben Lowen and Associate Sophie Gayle-Farlow. The wider team also included Real Estate Partner Alex Millar, Head of Construction & Engineering Ryan Fordham, Commercial, IP & Technology Partner Ben Chivers and Commercial Associates Richard Offord, Sarah Robinson and Eleanor Hobson.

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