Medicines manufacturing centre planned to strengthen UK pharma

A new £56 million medicines manufacturing innovation facility, located in Scotland, will be built and create up to 80 high value jobs by 2023

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.

Jon-Paul Sherlock, Global Technology Strategy Director of Operations, AstraZeneca, said: “As an industry it is critical that we develop, test and adopt the latest innovations in manufacturing safely and quickly. We believe the collaboration between industry, academia and government via the MMIC will help drive this and will ensure that new medicines can reach patients in a timely manner. AstraZeneca is delighted to be a founding partner and we are committed to playing an active role to ensure the MMIC is successful.”

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 Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre 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 minimised, 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 across a 3 year period, starting in summer 2018, and could to create up to 80 high value jobs by 2023 and attract £80.5m 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 Crystallisation. 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.

Dr Dave Tudor, Chair of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group, and VP, Head of Global Manufacturing and Supply Strategy for GSK, said: “Industry, government, academia and others are working together to secure an internationally competitive leadership position for the UK in life sciences for the long-term."

"GSK has long advocated the value of collaborations like the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to capitalise on our world-class science base and deliver innovation that drives growth and improves patient care. As the UK’s largest life sciences company and one of its biggest investors in research, we are delighted to have an active involvement in this new Centre.”

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