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Funding boost for UK drugs manufacturing

Published on 30/03/15 at 09:09am
The Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) was launched last year by the ABPI and BIA

The UK government is funding new manufacturing partnerships that will improve design processes and supply chain initiatives to lift the UK life sciences sector. 

The ABPI and the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) have welcomed a government decision to fund a project to develop new digital design and processes for medicines that has the potential to make them significantly better, faster and safer.
 
The Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) was launched last year by the ABPI and BIA to bring together key industry bodies, and now this is the first time the project has borne fruit in the shape of a big funding round.

Some of the key names involved in the movement are Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Process Systems Enterprise, Perceptive Engineering, Britest, Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, University of Leeds, Cambridge, STFC and the University of Strathclyde.
 
ABPI recently-appointed project director for manufacturing James Christie says: “I warmly welcome this announcement and I am very proud of MMIP’s role in helping to secure funding for this project. I firmly believe that this will be a powerful vehicle for enhancing the external environment for medicines manufacturing. Most importantly it will enable new and complex medicines to be developed and brought to market quicker and more cost effectively”.

BIA chief executive Steve Bates also says the investment is a positive step towards increasing the UK’s prominence in medicine manufacturing and also in safeguarding and creating jobs. “It’s also great to see a further £6.2 million grant awarded to the CPI as part of their project, adopting innovative technologies emerging from UK SMEs to improve the supply chain for biologic medicinal products.”
 
Winners in UK supply chain move
UCB has announced that its joint bid with five other UK-based organisations has been selected as a recipient of the government’s 2014 Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI), which will result in a £6.2 million grant to support the development of novel biologic treatments.

One of the aims of AMSCI is to encourage suppliers to move to the UK, but the winning project looks to tackle challenges in the discovery, development and supply of biologics, which are the fastest growing class of pharmaceutical products.

The UK has played an important role in the emergence of biologic therapy, with the discovery of interferons at the National Institute of Medical Research and the development of monoclonal antibodies using a technology discovered at the Medical Research Council laboratory of Molecular Biology.

UCB and Lonza Biologics are lead partners in the consortium, which will be managed by the Centre for Process Innovation. Crucially, the consortia also comprises three specialist biotech companies: Sphere Fluidics, Horizon Discovery and Alcyomics.

Ismail Kola, executive VP and president of UCB NewMedicines, says: “We are thrilled to receive backing for a project that has the potential to transform the way biologics are brought to market.

"The selection of our bid also shows that the UK government recognises the value of investing in the manufacturing of medicines, with incentives such as the AMSCI scheme reinforcing the attractiveness of this country’s life sciences environment. This is a step in the right direction of enabling UK patients to benefit from innovations in the pharmaceutical industry.”

Brett Wells

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