Contract Services

Arcinova & 3P

Arcinova, a multi-service Contract Development and Manufacturing Organisation (CDMO) based in Alnwick, Northumberland, has recently taken delivery and commissioned the award winning R1000 Robotic Capsule Filler from life-sciences automation company 3P innovation, as part of the ‘Fill-Inova’ project.  The R1000 includes 3P’s award-winning, patented Fill2Weight micro-dosing technology, which directly supports the optimisation of drug substance through direct filling into capsules.  Thanks to its capability of handling challenging powders with very poor flow properties, Fill2Weight enables formulators to bypass the need for excipients, with the associated benefit of avoiding the need for excipient compatibility tests.  The result is a significantly faster route through clinical trials and lower overall costs.

Arcinova’s previous manufacturing method for patient specific drug products involved a non-automated procedure with a production rate limited to 200 units per hour. The installation and commissioning of the new state-of-the-art robotic machine from 3P Innovation increases production to 1000 units per hour, while maintaining the same level of operator labour.  This state of the art, fully-automated capsule filler has been designed to provide Arcinova with an agile manufacturing solution with traceable weight recordings for each individual capsule.

The Fill-Inova Project is part of Arcinova’s multi-million pound investment in the Alnwick site and aims to create a more responsive ‘economy-of-scope’ approach to producing complex medicines in smaller volumes.  By employing digital technologies with automation and machine learning, Arcinova is able to produce on-demand, specific therapies for small patient populations. This will increase the UK’s capacity to manufacture small-molecule and high potency medicines, with patients set to benefit from accelerated access to targeted drug therapies.

Arcinova has revolutionised small molecule manufacturing by applying smarter, leading-edge chemistry processing such as continuous flow and real-time process optimisation. Arcinova is also embracing the UK’s digital manufacturing transformation, through its employment of the R1000 machine with associated robotics and machine learning to produce on-demand, personalised therapies for small patient populations.


Stephen Byard, Head of Drug Product (Arcinova), said, “Through continued investment in people and the most advanced instrumentation, Arcinova have reliably expanded service lines to satisfy the increased demands of progressing new medicines through to the clinic faster, and without compromising quality.  Installation of the R1000 capsule filling technology, provided by 3P Innovation, will help us to manufacture increased numbers of product units in reduced time, with higher accuracy and also accommodating powders that are difficult to handle using conventional systems.  By combining our well-established expertise in drug substance manufacture and solid form optimisation with the advantages offered by the R1000, we are now ideally placed to address the growing demand for pharmaceutical products in clinical trials, ranging from simple capsules to inhaler devices.  It is an absolute pleasure to be offering such advanced services to clients around the world with real patient benefits.”

Gareth Jenkins, Chief Scientific Officer (Arcinova), added, “Our vision is to improve patient care through transformational technology and we are very excited to see our digital medicines manufacturing platform become operational. By adopting robotics and digital automation, we can now rapidly and cost-effectively offer a more responsive production of new and highly complex medicines. This brings the vision of just-in-time clinical supply one step closer.”

Simon Strothers, Business Development Director (3P), stated, “We are delighted to be supplying Arcinova with an R1000 Robotic Capsule Filler.  Fitted with two of our world-leading Fill2Weight powder filling modules, the R1000 will enable Arcinova to develop and launch new drugs to market quicker, reducing clinical development timescales and achieving First-in-Human milestones faster and at lower cost.  As the pharmaceutical industry is under increasing pressure to develop new drugs faster, it is important that manufacturers seek the most advanced technologies.  The R1000 is a versatile and powerful production machine, capable of handling the most challenging and specialist powders from pure API’s and blends to delicate spray-dried powders and micro-pellets.”

Tom Bailey, Managing Director (3P) and one of the inventors of the technology, commented, “Our mission at 3P is to ensure products are developed, launched and commercialised faster at a lower cost. With this in mind, we combined our highly innovative and award-winning Fill2Weight technology with the flexibility of a robot to create the R500 and R1000 series.  The machines are supplied complete with full containment and are suitable for handling the most challenging powders including high-potency API’s.  Armed with the world’s fastest, gravimetric powder micro-dosing technology, we look forward to seeing the positive results the R1000 can bring to Arcinova and their clients when developing new drugs.”