The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, in which Strathclyde is a founding partner, has officially opened in the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland next to Glasgow Airport.

The £88 million Centre is bringing world-leading science and technology expertise under one roof to help accelerate state-of-the-art solutions to some of the biggest challenges in medicines development and manufacturing.

The Centre is a unique collaboration between technology innovation catalyst CPI and 23 partner organisations from across the pharma sector, business, academia, and government agencies.

Its ‘Grand Challenge’ business model follows the UK Life Sciences Strategy roadmap, combining ideas from the pharma and technology sectors to help tackle issues such as the development of more sustainable manufacturing processes.

Unique consortium

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre has six founding partners: pharmaceutical giants, AstraZeneca and GSK; technology innovation catalyst, CPI; strategic research partner, the University of Strathclyde; and two government agencies, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Scottish Enterprise.

Other partners that have invested in the Centre include Pfizer, Novartis and Alnylam from the pharma industry, business partner PwC, and technology leaders Siemens and Applied Materials.

Atos, a leading global digital transformation provider addressing the life science value chain providing pharma manufacturing digitalisation and transformation capabilities and services, is the latest to join the unique consortium, with a significant investment in the Centre.

The Centre is forecast to generate £200 million in advanced technologies over the first five years and will deliver a tangible impact for businesses – creating over 100 high-value jobs, enabling private investment, and building next-generation manufacturing assets and expertise.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of Strathclyde, said: “The MMIC is an exemplar of academic and industrial collaboration and highlights the important role such partnerships play in fostering innovation, the translation of research into practical applications, and the nurturing of talent that businesses require.

“As part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland, and sitting alongside the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, this new facility will help to develop the systems, processes and products that will transform pharmaceutical manufacturing in this country and significantly boost the local economy. “

Dave Tudor, Director of Medicines Manufacturing, Biologics and Quality at CPI, said: “The facility we have built here in Renfrewshire is the first example of a consistent and concerted effort from the pharma industry to collaborate. This will be crucial to unlocking the challenges we’ve faced so far to translate research into tangible benefits that will help address unmet health needs.

“Our ‘Grand Challenge’ business model aims to bring key players together to accelerate solutions to some of the core issues we’ve seen across the industry. For example, we want to see a reduction in waste and the industry’s carbon footprint through better, more efficient manufacturing processes. We want to drive strong research in areas like cell and gene therapy, RNA, and monoclonal antibodies, to bring digital solutions, advanced thinking, advanced technology and advanced supply chain mindsets to help with greater investment and growth in biological manufacture.

“The next phase is about inviting companies into the new Centre so they can benefit from the existing technologies developed as a result of our Grand Challenges.”

Regulated plant

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a fully Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulated plant, taking on many of the start-up risks involved in drug development, such as compliance with regulatory requirements for the development of new technologies. Partners can expect to see benefits to their manufacturing processes including greater productivity, reduced cost of drug development, greater compliance, and a reduction in carbon footprint.

Scottish Government Business Minister, Ivan McKee, said: “Through our national economic development agency, Scottish Enterprise, we have provided £16 million for the Centre, which is arriving at a crucial time for Scotland, meeting a need for advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing, creating jobs in a vitally important sector, and presenting a compelling opportunity for international and domestic manufacturing businesses to locate in Scotland.

“As a key part of Scotland’s economic recovery, the Centre will produce benefits not only for the economy but for the health of the nation and will put Scotland at the forefront of advanced medicines manufacturing. “

UK Government Minister for Scotland John Lamont said: “This centre of excellence is a truly remarkable development that will push science to its limits and beyond to find medical breakthroughs with the potential to save and transform countless lives.

“The UK Government, through Innovate UK, is investing a combined £28m in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. This is in addition to a further £55.6m in the wider Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District through the City Deal and Levelling Up funds.

“This collaboration across multiple sectors is partnership work at its best, producing benefits both locally and for humanity worldwide.”