New Medicines Manufacturing Centre to Strengthen UK Pharma

15 Jun 2018

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.

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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.

A photo of the MMIC partners

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 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 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.

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.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: Strathclyde has earned an international reputation for research and innovation that accelerates and enhances the manufacturing of medicines and pharmaceuticals. As strategic partners in MMIC, we will have an enhanced role in supporting industry to deliver urgently needed medicines both swiftly and effectively. The challenges of health are among the biggest facing today’s world; they are changing rapidly and continually and medicine must keep pace with them to provide solutions. MMIC will provide world-class talent, research capability, technology, facilities, knowledge and experience to industry to ensure these challenges are met.

Jon-Paul Sherlock, Global Technology Strategy Director — 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.

Dr Dave Tudor, Chair of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group, and Vice President, 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.

Ian Campbell, Innovate UK Interim Executive Chair, said: This is a fantastic investment for the UK, and especially for Scotland, as we look to place cutting-edge innovation at the heart of tackling some of society’s greatest 21st century challenges.

UK Research and Innovation is leading the charge to bring the UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy to life – translating research into commercial success, building on our industrial strengths and sustaining economic prosperity across our communities. Our job at Innovate UK, working within the UK Research and Innovation family, is to help good ideas become great businesses delivering products and services which change lives for the better.

The new MMIC promises to enhance Scotland’s reputation as a trusted centre for high value manufacturing, while transforming the UK’s standing within the global pharmaceutical industry.”

UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, added: This is great news for the UK’s Life Sciences sector and especially important for Scotland in re-enforcing its global reputation as a centre for cutting edge scientific endeavour. We need more new medicines to tackle deadly diseases more quickly and through our modern Industrial Strategy we want to see more of this world leading research and manufacture done here in the UK, bringing highly skills jobs and greater prosperity with it. The UK Government has provided significant backing to this project, with UK Research and Innovation investing £13 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.”

Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: This is a strong signal of intent from Government and the pharmaceutical industry that they are ready to get behind the UK as a global leader in medicines manufacturing. Medicines manufacturing is no longer the siloed, labour intensive process of yesteryear. This cutting edge centre instead provides a unique space for academics, research scientists and manufacturing partners to work side by side designing new ways to transition the medicines of the future out of development and in to the supply chain. Global pharmaceutical companies are already excited about UK science, our world leading Universities and unique research centres and this facility means we now have a manufacturing innovation site to rival anything in the world.

Steve Bates, CEO of the Bioindustry Association (BIA), added: Improving productivity in drug development is vital to economic innovation for our sector. Enabling that to happen in the UK gives us competitive advantage and is a good example of joined up industrial strategy in action.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director at Scottish Enterprise, said: We are delighted to welcome the new MMIC to Scotland. There is no other facility like this in the world and is a fantastic endorsement of Scotland as an ideal place to invest in global excellence in high value manufacturing drawing on our skills, innovative companies and academic expertise.

Industry leadership and co-investment has been central to shaping this centre and will remain at the heart of what makes it a success, providing a platform for companies right across the UK to collaborate, innovate and develop world-leading medicine manufacturing processes and technologies.”

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: I am delighted that the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) will be located in Scotland, given its potential to become a global centre of excellence and bringing significant benefits to Scotland’s economy. The location of the MMIC is also a very positive endorsement of Scotland’s Life and Chemical Science sectors and will build on our internationally recognised strengths in both Research and Development and manufacturing.

Scottish Enterprise, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, is investing £15 million in the MMIC helping to fulfil the vision of Scotland’s Life Sciences Strategy. This will help to make Scotland the location of choice for the life sciences community and help us grow the industry’s contribution to the Scottish Economy by 90%, to £8 billion by 2025.

As well as helping to attract further manufacturing investment to Scotland, the Centre will also be well placed to support new business start-ups and spin-outs and enable established life and chemical science companies to profit from innovation.

Whilst the Centre will be located within the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District in Renfrewshire, alongside the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, we are taking a range of steps to ensure that the Sector across the whole of Scotland is able to benefit from the project.

Notes to the Editor

About CPI

At CPI we work with our partners to help develop products and processes that enhance health and well-being, protect and improve our environment and increase productivity across industries. In doing so, we support the development of next-generation manufacturing organisations, which require highly-skilled jobs, and will result in sustained economic growth for the UK.

Our partners operate across diverse markets including Healthcare, Food & Agriculture, FMCG, Electronics, Energy, Transportation and Construction. CPI is able to support such a broad-base of industries through our unique innovation processes, together with our diverse and expanding platform of technological expertise. These include therapeutic biologics, industrial biotech, nanotechnology, chemistry and formulation, printed electronics and sensors.

Overall the combination of CPI’s innovation processes and our outstanding scientific expertise, enables our partners to get more products to market faster, and at a lower overall cost. Contact CPI for more information.

About the University of Strathclyde

Inspired by our founding principle as a place of useful learning’, our mission is to make a positive difference to the lives of our students, to society and to the world. Strathclyde students benefit from an innovative and practical educational experience enhanced by its integration with our research capabilities, high-quality academic resources and an unparalleled industry engagement programme. 

The excellence of our research is evidenced by our position amongst the UK’s top 20 research-intensive universities, according to the Times Higher Education’s analysis of REF2014, and by the growth in range and scale of our research collaborations. We have also redefined how we collaborate and work with industry, government and the third sector to ensure innovation and knowledge exchange are fundamental activities that deliver tangible impact. More at www​.strath​.ac​.uk

CPI is your innovation partner to make your ideas a reality.