CGT Catapult launches VR training for future workforce needs

A first-of-its-kind pilot project to provide Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) training to develop the knowledge and skills needed for a career in Advanced Therapy Drug Development (ATMP) has been launched .

The training will be delivered by Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (CGT Catapult), in partnership with the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) and in close collaboration with Miltenyi Biotec.

The training – which will be delivered through the Advanced Therapies Skills Training Network (ATSTN) – will allow users to learn about technologies and equipment used in manufacturing processes. The collaboration introduces the Miltenyi Biotec CliniMACS Prodigy, an automated, flexible and closed system that streamlines workflows and can simplify the manufacturing process of immunotherapies.

The AR/VR training program is being developed as part of the ATSTN, a larger initiative to support the future skills needs of the cell and gene therapy industry. This will ensure that the industry has a strong pool of highly skilled workers to meet rapidly growing demand. The immersive training program has been developed by AMRC, in conjunction with CGT Catapult, and will be located in Stevenage, Hertfordshire.

Make the UK a go-to place

Miltenyi Biotec, a global biotech company that provides products and services to cell and gene therapy companies, provided technical input into the development of the training, ensuring that it resembles real-life situations as closely as possible.

Matthew Durdy, Managing Director of Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult, said: “The availability of skills and experienced people is a source of international advantage for the UK. We are proud to work with the AMRC and industry partners like Miltenyi to ensure the UK is the go-to place for the development and manufacturing of cell and gene therapies.

State-of-the-art training

Marcus Crossley, senior project manager at AMRC, said: “This VR/AR demonstrator really pushes the boundaries by showing how companies could provide cutting-edge training to people at the start of their careers, as well as improving and improving supporting existing staff members around the world.

“This is a great example of collaboration between Catapult Center and shows the expertise the industry can access within both organizations. Enabling participants to use state-of-the-art technology greatly enhances their learning experience and adds value by accelerating people’s familiarity and confidence in using manufacturing equipment. Being able to bring experts into this immersive experience from anywhere in the world is a very powerful training capability.

“To acquire skills”

Michele Giroux, Managing Director of Miltenyi Biotec, said: “At Miltenyi Biotec Ltd, we are committed to providing the highest quality training for the next generation of ATMP scientists. The work we are doing with CGT Catapult and the University of Sheffield to develop a VR training platform will help accelerate this and bring the systems capabilities to the attention of a wider audience.

“Ultimately, we hope this partnership will help empower those entering the ATMP field to gain the skills they need to manufacture these breakthrough therapies.”

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