Blog 15 Dec 2023 

Top Moments of 2023

As 2023 comes to an end, let’s take some time to look back at our top moments this year.

Matthew Herbert

Matthew Herbert

Director of Marketing Communications

Discover how in 2023, our people and partners in industry, academia, and government helped create sustainable impact, with the launch of two new innovation centres, more investment and advances in oligonucleotide and food innovation.

2023 was a year of major expansion and investment, as well as big strides in various markets, like oligonucleotides and food technology. We published landmark reports on the state of the HealthTech industry and our people continued to show that they are the foundation of CPI. This all reflects CPI’s commitment to fostering innovation, amid an expanding network of partners in industry, academia, and government.

CPI Expansion Boosts RNA and Food Innovation

September heralded a significant milestone for CPI with the opening of our RNA Centre of Excellence by George Freeman MP, former Minister of State at the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. The centre is specifically designed to support the development, scale-up, and manufacture of RNA-based therapies. To further build the UK’s expertise in this area it also hosts the RNA training academy, uniquely positioning CPI as the only UK organisation able to develop, manufacture, and encapsulate RNA vaccines for clinical trials at one location.

The launch was just one of several events which made 2023 the year of oligonucleotides”. In February we announced a partnership between CPI, AstraZeneca, Novartis, and The University of Manchester. This consortium aims to bring together expertise in oligonucleotides that will tackle inefficiency in the manufacturing process and reduce costs, widening patient access to this promising life-saving area of medicine. 

We increased our RNA capability in May when our Intracellular Drug Delivery Centre was established. This centre, a partnership with the Medicines Discovery Catapult, the University of Strathclyde, the University of Liverpool and Imperial College London, will accelerate the development of new lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations for RNA medicines. 

We were proud to host the inaugural oligonucleotide manufacturing symposium, which was a memorable part of the first year of operations at our Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The CPI oligonucleotide ecosystem is set to expand further with the start of operations at our recently-announced Oligonucleotide Manufacturing Innovation Centre of Excellence. The establishment of these centres is a testament to CPI’s dedication to advancing innovative healthcare solutions that will benefit patients tremendously. 

We also expanded in other areas, which is evidence of the scale of innovation in the North. In the same week our RNA Centre of Excellence opened, we launched our Novel Food Innovation Centre. This will create jobs, bring further investment to novel food production and cement the North-East’s place in the food industry’s green revolution. 

Lastly, November saw the announcement of our Centre of Expertise in Advanced Materials and Sustainability. Given the current shortage of companies able to produce sustainable materials, this centre will boost the capability and development of materials manufacturing in the Greater Manchester area. 

Pharma and healthcare

Bringing medicines to market takes time, and one component of that is process development. This year we announced a proof-of-concept study for developing a first-of-its-kind digital approach to bioprocess modelling, an initiative that promises to accelerate the delivery of innovative treatments. 

Emphasising our focus on human-centric healthcare, We shared the breakthrough impact of CPI’s partnership with KnitRegen who have developed innovative wearables for stroke therapy. A beacon of hope for stroke survivors, the wearable technology could revolutionise rehabilitation for up to 50% of patients.

Our commitment to innovation in HealthTech is illustrated by several reports we published this year that outline the challenges and opportunities for the UK-based industry. 

The findings of our survey released in January show that one in five UK healthtech SMEs venture to the US for product launches. This is indicative that support for UK innovation needs to be bolstered to help companies commercialise their products. A second study released at the same time focused on a strategic technology roadmap to shape the UK into a world leader for developing and adopting in vitro diagnostics (IVDs).

Two CPI reports released later in the year looked at the challenges for scaling up HealthTech manufacturing within the UK and outlined the conditions and requirements to do so. Digital health products are rapidly growing in popularity and offer the promise of individual, patient-based care. They encompass products for acquiring and storing digital health records — from those used by GPs and hospitals to data gathered by the smartwatch on your wrist. The scale-up could be transformative and is laid out in the second report, An Action Plan: Driving Growth of the UK Digital Health Industry. 

Food tech and materials

In advance of the opening of the Novel Food Innovation Centre, CPI was awarded a globally recognised certificate for food safety. Novel food production can play a part in decarbonising the food industry as we move to make our diets more sustainable and planet friendly. This award boosts industry and consumer confidence by underscoring our adherence to the highest standards of food production and safety in our novel food production processes. 

Similarly, there is a drive for the implementation of low- carbon processes in the materials manufacturing industry. The new Foundation Industries Sustainability Consortium, formed in July, brings together CPI and leaders in the materials, polymer and chemical industries to lead the charge in sustainable materials innovation. The consortium’s first initiative is a programme designed to support foundation industries in developing a network of scale-up centres, to enhance low-carbon innovation across UK materials industries. 

Enterprise investments

CPI Enterprises had a landmark year, investing in a record four companies. Each investment demonstrates CPI’s commitment to nurturing companies that embody our ethos of innovation and sustainability. 

  • Newcastle University spin-out MarraBio is developing pioneering technology to manufacture alternatives to bioactive proteins at lower cost with improved performance. Bioactive proteins have functions that are essential in biology, such as digestion, but are often expensively derived from animal or plant sources for use in industry.
  • QV Bioelectronics’ innovative implantable medical device could become a first-of-its-kind treatment for the most intractable of brain tumours, glioblastoma, which has a 5‑year survival rate of just 3%.
  • Lastly, CPI Enterprises invested in Q5D’s innovation in wire harness automation, which could increase manufacturing efficiency and reduce production cost of these critical components in electric vehicles, aircraft, consumer goods and electronics.
  • E‑waste is growing at an unprecedented rate. Finding ways to recycle constituents would disrupt what amounts to a $63- billion global market. That’s what makes Descycle’s deep eutectic solvent solution, designed to recover precious metals from dumped laptops, phones and other electronics, such an exciting investment prospect.

Our people and culture

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of our dedicated team. CPI’s continued success is down to its diverse and talented people. Our commitment to developing the skills of all our employees through a blend of apprenticeships and training opportunities was recently recognised by the award of Platinum accredited membership through The 5% Club’s 2023 – 24 Employer Audit Scheme. 

Speaking of apprenticeships, we were delighted to take part in National Apprenticeship Week and featured Apprentice Scientist Lara Picknett in our Meet the Team series, sharing with us one of the many unique experiences of being an apprentice at CPI

We pride ourselves in making sure earn and learn’ and other upskilling opportunities are available equally for all employees. During National Inclusion Week, we celebrated the achievements of our Diversity & Inclusion affinity groups and highlighted how far we’ve come on our inclusivity journey since we signed the Catapult Network’s Inclusivity in Innovation Charter in February 2022. This included a week-long campaign this year, bringing our commitment to an inclusive workplace to the fore. 

Looking back at 2023, we can reflect on a year of significant achievements and advancements. From groundbreaking launches in pharmaceuticals and healthcare to strides in materials innovation and strategic investments, it is evident that CPI’s diverse endeavours have not only yielded unprecedented growth but also reinforced our position as a leader in driving forward innovative solutions across industries. We can be incredibly proud of these accomplishments. Looking ahead, there is much more to come. We remain dedicated to continuing our impactful work, shaping the future of various industries, and contributing to a more sustainable and healthier world. 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2024 from all of us at CPI

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