CPI set to open new centre for cutting-edge medicines manufacturing in Scotland. 

22 Nov 2023

CPI is set to create a new centre of excellence for manufacturing cutting-edge medicines after a multi-million-pound fund was announced in the Autumn Statement today (22nd November 2023).

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The Oligonucleotide Manufacturing Innovation Centre of Excellence will focus on developing innovative and sustainable manufacturing techniques in an emerging area of medicine known as oligonucleotides.

What are Oligonucleotides?

Oligonucleotides are a revolutionary new therapeutic in the pharma industry. These short, chemically synthesised fragments of DNA or RNA modulate protein expression through several different mechanisms to treat the underlying drivers of disease. 

They can cover a wide variety of diseases, from cancer to Alzheimer’s, and have the potential to unlock medicines for conditions currently considered untreatable and create more effective medicines for larger patient populations such as heart disease. 

The Centre will be the second facility opened by CPI within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS). This new Centre will build on millions of pounds of investment currently being delivered through the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.

Why the new centre is needed

This new centre represents the next step in CPI’s collaboration with large pharma, SMEs, the supply chain and academia to bring new and potentially life-saving oligonucleotide therapeutics to market. 

Current manufacturing capacity for oligonucleotides is insufficient to keep pace with present and future demand, with lead times for clinical trial materials hindering the development of new therapeutics for patients. 

The new centre of excellence will help to address these challenges, building a holistic UK-based capability within this area to drive innovation and support clinical manufacture. The centre will also allow for the training and development of a highly skilled workforce, ensuring the patients who need it most can receive faster access to ground-breaking medicines. 

The centre will establish operations during 2024 and be completed in late 2025 and will be jointly funded by the UK and Scottish Governments, with final contractual agreements with Scottish Enterprise expected in the New Year. It will sit alongside the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre which is a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the pharma industry with partners including AstraZeneca, GSK, and The University of Strathclyde.

Andrew Griffith MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, said:

The pace of innovation in medicines manufacturing is relentless, and it is crucial that the UK government works with private industry to ensure life sciences manufacturers across the UK the support that they need to meet their ambitions.

This new centre of excellence for oligonucleotides – which are critical in the manufacture of new therapies for cancer, Alzheimer’s and more — will build on our more than £650 million support for the £94 billion UK life sciences sector with £10 million backing from the UK Government. It will place Scotland at the forefront of the discovery of life-changing therapies for millions of patients, which is great news for UK life sciences and our NHS.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of Pharmaceuticals at CPI, said:

What’s abundantly clear to people working on the frontline developing innovative medicines is that oligonucleotides have enormous potential to change and improve people’s lives. 

However, there is a massive gap in the supply and demand for this innovative technology. We want to change that and allow businesses to use this new facility so they can go and produce the medicines people need. 

What’s also significant about this announcement is that it puts Scotland at the heart of advanced medicine manufacturing techniques. This work is critical to tackling rare diseases and some of our biggest health crises. By placing this centre alongside our Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, we can benefit from our existing skills in oligonucleotide manufacturing to combat those challenges while bringing inward investment to the region, creating highly paid, highly skilled jobs. 

I’m also pleased that CPI is continuing our collaboration with The University of Strathclyde as we work together to provide an end-to-end solution for the development, manufacturing, supply, and training of oligonucleotides” 

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