The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre Collaborates with Applied Materials to Enhance Just In Time Clinical Supply

17 Sept 2020

CPI and the founding partners of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre have today announced that they will collaborate with Applied Materials, Inc. to provide planning and scheduling technology. This collaboration brings Applied Materials’ leadership in manufacturing automation software and paves the way for the integration of the company’s SmartFactory Rx® automation software into the Medicine Manufacturing Innovation Centre’s Just In Time clinical supply platform. Once integrated, the software will enable the Centre’s platform to allow quicker and more efficient production and distribution of medicines to clinical trial sites, a key aspect of a more streamlined pharmaceutical supply chain.

The cost of drug development is increasing rapidly and a cross-sector consortium at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre including CPI, the University of Strathclyde, GSK and AstraZeneca, Scottish Enterprise and UK Research & Innovation, aims to reduce these costs by minimising material lead times, minimum order quantities and increasing supply chain efficiency. As part of the Centre’s Grand Challenge 2 project, the consortium is constructing an automated platform called Pharmacy Automation for Clinical Efficiency (PACE). The platform will package multiple drug substances on a single, digitally-enhanced packaging line just in time. 

The PACE platform is a complex set of interdependent automated functions, which means planning and scheduling of clinical trial supply is a challenging and labour-intensive task that requires full understanding of the entire process. Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software suite combines optimisation solvers, heuristic rule techniques and Applied Materials’ unique Sense & Respond technology to create adaptive, optimum plans and schedules automatically. The software will update its plans and schedules as new data arises, which will reduce the need for human intervention in the process and enhance the PACE platform’s offering of Just In Time clinical supply. 

SmartFactory Rx® planning and scheduling technology is in use in over 300 plants worldwide within the semiconductor and display industries, and most recently, in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Using SmartFactory Rx® software is a proven way for manufacturers to dramatically increase efficiency, throughput and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

The consortium at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre recently announced the completion of the PACE platform’s design. The inclusion of Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software will add additional value to pharmaceutical companies and patients, enabling more efficient planning and performance tracking that will reduce waste. 

The consortium continues to seek new partners from across the industry that can contribute to maximising the impact of the innovative PACE platform. 

Amos Dor, General Manager of Pharma Solutions at Applied Materials, said: We are delighted to be a part of this important collaboration to deliver Just In Time clinical supply for the pharmaceutical sector. Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software will greatly improve planning and scheduling within the PACE platform, accelerating the timelines of clinical studies while eliminating waste.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: This is a fantastic collaboration that will significantly enhance the PACE platform under construction at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The addition of Applied Materials into the consortium highlights the many different areas of expertise that will be needed for delivering the pharmaceutical supply chain of the future.”

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About the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

About the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre 

About the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre was established by a collaboration between CPI, the University of Strathclyde, UK Research and Innovation, Scottish Enterprise and founding industry partners, AstraZeneca and GSK.

The consortium aims to develop the medicines manufacturing processes of the future, enabling a more agile, responsive medicines supply chain through improved manufacturing processes. It will enable new and disruptive technologies to be proven at scale in a GMP environment. This will allow the rapid adoption of next-generation processes that reduce risk, cut costs and save time, enabling a healthier society and a robust UK economy.

With a collaborative innovation culture and state-of the art facilities, the Centre will enable industry, academia, healthcare providers and regulators to work collaboratively in order to address challenges and maximise technology opportunities within the medicines supply chain.

The initial focus of the centre will be to deliver two​‘Grand Challenges’, with the first exploring how oral solid dosage medicines can be produced more robustly and efficiently utilising continuous direct compression. The second focuses on how these medicines can then be delivered to patients with minimal waste and maximum speed, using Just in Time manufacture and supply capabilities.


About CPI 

About CPI

CPI is an independent technology innovation centre and a founding member of the UK Government’s High Value Manufacturing Catapult. Founded in 2004, CPI applies its years of experience across a broad range of industries to ensure that every great invention gets the best opportunity to become a successfully marketed product. 

CPI’s integrated approach provides its partners with a unique combination of assets, expertise and skills to drive successful innovation. With a deep understanding of innovation processes and funding, outstanding technical expertise and industry-relevant assets, CPI enables products and processes to be quickly and cost-effectively brought to market. By employing bright minds from both academia and industry, CPI helps create a bespoke team that will provide the right support, helping you to navigate the route to commercialisation while reducing risk along the way.

We form connections throughout the supply chain, bringing together investors, government organisations and academic institutions to facilitate the necessary partnerships for effective innovation. This increases productivity across industries and supports the development of next-generation manufacturing, highly-skilled jobs and economic growth for the UK


About the University of Strathclyde 

About the University of Strathclyde

For more than 200 years, the University of Strathclyde has been meeting the needs of students, employers, industry and wider society through world-class research, teaching, innovation and enterprise. Today, as a leading international technological University, Strathclyde works side-by-side with business, industry, government and the public sector, to improve health, safeguard the future of energy supplies, set new standards in manufacturing, and pioneer technologies. Its entrepreneurial environment makes Strathclyde the partner of choice for growing numbers of organisations across the world, and has been recognised through the award of Times Higher Education UK Business School of the Year, Entrepreneurial University of the Year, and University of the Year. 

About Scottish Enterprise 

About Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise is Scotland’s national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region.

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About UK Research and Innovation 

About UK Research and Innovation

This project has been funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. The fund is delivered by UK Research and Innovation.

The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund brings together the UK’s world-leading research with business to meet the major industrial and societal challenges of our time. It provides funding and support to UK businesses and researchers, part of the government’s £4.7 billion increase in research and development over the next 4 years. It plays a central role in the Government’s modern Industrial Strategy. 

UK Research and Innovation is a new organisation that brings together the UK Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England into a single organisation to create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. The vision is to ensure the UK maintains its world- leading position in research and innovation. For more information visit www​.ukri​.org

About Applied Materials, Inc. 

About Applied Materials, Inc.

Applied Materials, Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT) is the leader in materials engineering solutions used to produce virtually every new chip and advanced display in the world. Our expertise in modifying materials at atomic levels and on an industrial scale enables customers to transform possibilities into reality. At Applied Materials, our innovations make possible the technology shaping the future. Learn more at www​.applied​ma​te​ri​als​.com.

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