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New medicines manufacturing centre to strengthen UK pharma

The UK’s pharmaceutical and fine chemical industry is accelerating development of a new generation of manufacturing processes thanks to a new £56 million medicines manufacturing innovation facility.

The state-of-the-art Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) will be located in Renfrewshire, Scotland, and led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), and founding industry partners, AstraZeneca and GSK. The centre will ensure the UK is a technology and innovation leader in small molecule pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing, thereby boosting the competitiveness of both sectors.

Pharmaceutical companies are investing millions to speed up manufacturing processes, reducing waste and cost, and future medicines will also require innovative manufacturing technologies. With a collaborative innovation culture and state-of the art facilities, the new MMIC will develop highly efficient and effective technologies. As a flexible and adaptable building, the centre will enable industry, academia, healthcare providers and regulators to work collaboratively to address challenges along the medicines supply chain.

The UK medicines manufacturing community will be assisted through in-house industrial and academic experts, thought leadership and a support structure to help small and medium sized enterprises and start-ups innovate and grow.

Enhancing the link between those doing research and development and those manufacturing drugs will reduce the risk in the process of adopting disruptive technologies and accelerate the translation of the UK’s strong research base into new industrial approaches of the future.

The centre aims to become an international beacon for innovation in small molecule medicines manufacturing, and will incorporate capabilities for development and manufacturing of drug substances and drug products in a GMP-capable environment. This will aid the materials quantities used in process development to be minimized, and timelines to be accelerated to achieve just-in-time, right-first-time and real-time-release manufacturing principles. Users will be able to evaluate, test and prototype processes using an array of advanced Industry 4.0 manufacturing technologies including continuous, digital and autonomous manufacturing.

The facility and infrastructure project will be established over a three-year period, starting in summer 2018, and could to create up to 80 high value jobs by 2023 and attract £80.5 million of R&D investment by 2028. A further 90 jobs will be created or retained during design and construction. Indirect employment will be generated through start-ups, SMEs and large companies that will grow their businesses using the transformative manufacturing technologies developed within the MMIC.

The MMIC will also translate to industry the output of the EPSRC Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallization. Led by the University of Strathclyde, this is a UK-wide consortium, which accelerates progress in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The new manufacturing centre is funded by several sources including UK Research and Innovation (£13m through the UK Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund), Scottish Enterprise (£15m) and founding industry partners GlaxoSmithKline (up to £7m) and AstraZeneca (up to £7m). The remaining funds will come from revenue to be attracted from funding bids and commercial projects.

Nigel Perry MBE FREng, Chief Executive Officer at CPI, said: “The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will enhance the UK’s existing competitive advantage by deepening the skills base and strengthening the rationale for companies to invest in new, highly productive medicines manufacturing. CPI is delighted to be working alongside the University of Strathclyde, Innovate UK, Scottish Government and our industry partners to deliver this globally unique centre that will prepare the pharmaceutical supply chain for vital, next generation medicines and further extend CPI’s healthcare capabilities.”