New Project Brings Smart Packaging Capability to North-East

CPI has announced it has begun the first phase of its Medicines Smart Packaging’ project. This phase of the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) funded project, known as SmartMed, will begin the process of crystallising the needs for innovation in the smart packaging of medicines and medical devices leading to the creation of an innovation capability.

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The healthcare sector is in the midst of change, driven by multiple factors including longer life expectancies, a rise in chronic disease and a shift in the pharmaceutical industry towards advanced and personalised therapies. There is also an increasing number of people taking multiple medicines, putting pressure on the NHS to be able to track exactly where drugs are going and when patients are taking them. With the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt’s target for digital-led NHS treatment by 2018, there is increasing expectation on the sector to use technology, such as smart packaging, to address these issues.

Using smart packaging would also benefit organisations such as distribution companies, who could track and monitor medicines throughout the supply chain, as well as pharmaceutical companies who could use sensors to monitor environmental conditions during storage and delivery including temperature, humidity and damage, to ensure that medicines are effective when they reach the patient. Smart packaging for medicines could feature printed sensors that can also be used to help with patient compliance. This is a major issue for healthcare, because patients that do not take their medicines as prescribed not only risk their health, but also contribute to significant economic losses for healthcare providers such as the NHS in the UK.

Smart Packaging for Medicines
A photo of a person working on a tableting press in a laboratory

From manufacture to clinical supply to patients, digital technologies and new types of material have the potential to revolutionise the way in medicines are packaged and therapies of all kinds are delivered. Innovation in this area can help to improve both the effectiveness and experience of treatments for patients,” says Richard Baker, Head of Policy and Strategy at the North East LEP.

The North East has established strengths in technologies like printable electronics, product formulation and digital application which, if brought together, could make a step change in medicines delivery and also develop approaches of value to other industries such as food and consumer products. We’re delighted to be working with CPI and other partners on this project which will aim to ensure that the North East takes a leading role in this area.

The Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), a partnership between the UK government and industry, has endorsed the creation of a national centre of excellence in packaging for medicines. This will support the development of the next generation of packaging technology and the associated smart devices required for new and novel medicines, including specialist packaging needed throughout the manufacturing supply chain. The proposed world-class centre of excellence would allow medicine manufacturing and medical technology companies to build their niche capabilities and differentiate themselves in the global marketplace, securing activity and creating jobs.

CPI will be hosting a series of workshops to speak to the pharmaceutical industry, distribution companies, NHS, pharmacies and patient groups to assess their need for these innovations and the proposed capability creation. CPI is happy to hear from any companies or groups that may be interested in taking part in these workshops, please contact info@​uk-​cpi.​com for more information.

The project will focus on defining and crystallising the user requirements leading to a significant and globally recognised innovation capability in the North East, helping UK companies to stay at the forefront” says Alex Cole, Centre for Process Innovation

Notes to the Editor

About CPI

The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The company uses applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state of the art development facilities to enable its clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. Established to support the UK process manufacturing industry, CPI collaborates with universities, SMEs and large corporations to help overcome innovation challenges. Operating across a broad range of technologies, partners are supported at every stage; from concept to market; business support to technology development; and from scale up to supply chain intervention. CPI consists of dedicated national innovation centres that support industrial biotechnology and biorefining, printable electronics, biologics and formulation. The centres enable advancements in major markets such as healthcare, electronics, food and drink, aerospace, automotive, materials, and energy. These world leading, digitally enabled and open access facilities are available for partners to get their products and processes to market quickly with minimal risk. Utilising strong networks, CPI brings together a range of partners in the delivery of innovation projects, with a common goal of strengthening the UK’s position in High Value Manufacturing. 

About the North East LEP

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a public, private, and education sector partnership that covers Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland local authority areas. The £270.4m Local Growth Fund, secured as part of the North East Growth Deal, supports the North East LEP’s delivery of the Strategic Economic Plan, which aims to create 100,000 more and better jobs by 2024. The North East Investment Fund is a £58m loan fund managed by the North East LEP

Local Growth Fund Local Enterprise Partnerships are playing a vital role in driving forward economic growth across the country, helping to build a country that works for everyone. 

That’s why by 2021 Government will have invested over £12bn through the Local Growth Fund, allowing LEPs to use their local knowledge to get all areas of the country firing on all cylinders. Analysis has shown that every £1 of Local Growth Fund invested could generate £4.81 in benefits.

Further information If you would like some further facts about the Fund, or the wider regeneration work going on across the country, please contact DCLG press office by emailing NewsDesk@​communities.​gsi.​gov.​uk in the first instance to request any additional information you might need.

Some additional key facts:

  • There are 38 LEPs covering the whole of England
  • The government has awarded £9.1bn in three rounds of Growth Deals to local areas to drive economic growth.
  • LEPs are investing in a wide range of projects informed by detailed analysis of the most pressing economic needs in each of their areas, including transport, skills, business support, broadband, innovation and flood defences.