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New £5.8 million genetic treatment development facility completes at King’s College London

5 Mar 2024

John Clarke

John Clarke


A state-of-the-art Gene Therapy Vector Facility (GTVF) has completed construction at King’s College London’s specialist Rayne Institute, which will support the development of new genetic treatments.

The expanded £5.8m facility was delivered within a live environment and will now operate as one of the largest suppliers of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) grade viral vectors, supporting clinical trials across Europe. It boasts a new micro laboratory, which will be used for routine environmental monitoring activities and assessment of incoming microbiological media.

Meanwhile, two laboratories on the second floor of the Rayne Institute were fully stripped and fitted out to create two Grade C clean rooms, to support suites that manufacture viral vectors. The project also included the consolidation of existing storage areas into one functioning suite, with a refurbishment changing area extended to accommodate the facility’s enhanced service capabilities. To achieve Grade C status, the installation of a new air handling unit to support filtration and humidity in the medical environments was necessary.

Pick Everard has been responsible for managing and designing the project, providing mechanical, building, electrical, structural engineering and project management services.

“This was a highly technical operation given the project’s nature and eventual end use. In turn, this presented a range of unique challenges for our design teams, which were carefully navigated through effective stakeholder engagement and ensuring close compliance with Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and GMP regulations.

“Our work needed to ensure that it would not interfere with a live working environment and the crucial work ongoing within the existing Rayne Institute. As well as undertaking weekly risk assessments, a rigorous preparation process was implemented to ensure no contaminants entered scientific and medical areas.

“This has been a truly unique project and we’re incredibly proud to deliver a project that will play a huge role in clinical discovery.”

— John Clarke, director at Pick Everard

Ensuring efficiency and sustainability were central pillars to the design, the new facility is targeting a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating and was compliant through RIBA design Stages 1-6.The project, which operated across a 140 square metre space, was supported through funding from King’s College London and the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Simon Howell, professor at King’s College London, said: “This new facility will help ensure that King’s College London and the UK maintain a Europe-leading position in the production of GMP-grade viral vectors for cell and gene therapy. Excellence in this important field of biomedicine will in the long term deliver both health and economic benefits for the UK and beyond.

”Operational qualification work, including testing of Building Management Systems (BMS) and other installed services, were also undertaken by Pick Everard ahead of project completion."