Innovation in Medicines Manufacturing Through Collaboration Write-Up

Posted on: 03/04/2019

‘Innovations in Medicines Manufacturing through Collaboration’ event highlighted projects funded by ISCF Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Fund.

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We are faced with the challenge of manufacturing many different types of medicines and getting the right drugs and treatments to individual patients when they need them. Through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund leading-edge healthcare challenge, Government has been investing in a range of infrastructure and innovation projects in support of medicines manufacturing. Nearly 100 people met on Wednesday 27th March 2019 at the Centre for Process Innovation National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington at this event delivered by KTN for UKRI Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. The key focus of the event was to hear about progress of some of the infrastructure investments, learn about the early results and innovation coming through from the companies in this space, and finally something close to KTN’s heart – connecting people to accelerate innovation.

The first session focused on ‘Innovation Infrastructure to Grow UK Medicines Manufacturing’, chaired by Innovate UK’s Nick Medcalf.  Andy Jones, from Innovate UK and the ISCF Challenge Director for the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge, kicked things off by leading us through the context behind the ISCF Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Fund, explaining the economic and social benefits of the UK being a world-leader in medicines manufacture. An update was given on recent ISCF investments in enhancing current UK capabilities in medicines manufacturing innovation and sharing what this means for medicines manufacturing innovation.

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“Thanks to KTN for organising a first class event at the National Biologics Centre on Wednesday.¬† I was extremely pleased to see the excellent progress in the ISCF Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Fund being made visible to members of the UK Medicines Manufacturing community.¬† The event was a real success in disseminating information but also in generating engagement and excitement across the community and creating a foundation for the building of real partnerships across the broad spectrum of Medicines Manufacturing across the UK.‚Äù

– Andy Jones, Innovate UK


Mark Bustard (CPI) presented the approach and the work at the Darlington National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, encouraging the sector to talk about challenges that they face and ways collaboration may succeed in solving those. Tours of the facility and capabilities were provided for delegates throughout the day. Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) in Scotland, discussed the strategy and vision for MMIC, a collaboration between UK Centre for Process Innovation, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and the University of Strathclyde, supported by Innovate UK and Scottish Enterprise.

A full and rapid-fire session followed in ‘From Feasibility to the Future’, with several projects introduced to the audience, all of which had gained government funding and was chaired by Innovate UK’s Ian McKay and KTN’s Specialist in Medicines and Advanced Therapies, Sarah Goulding. There were great presentations from a range of speakers including: Glen Kemp, Biotoolomics; Simon Bayly, Oxford Mestar; Steve Pells, ReNeuron; Lindsay Fraser, RoslinCT; Alvaro Goyanes, FabRx; Gareth Jenkins, Arcinova; Kevin Ward, Biopharma Process Systems Ltd.; and Basil Omar, CHAIN Biotechnology.

These eight short talks represent only a proportion of the large portfolio of innovative projects that have been funded under these calls to accelerate the development, process manufacture and underpinning technology development of a wide range of medicines including advanced therapies, small molecule medicines, vaccines and antibodies, amongst several others. Each talk called out for future project partners or collaboration needs and the KTN intends to work together with UKRI to drive further connections in the future.

An engaging panel session on “Future Collaboration and Opportunities” took place in the afternoon and was chaired by Andy Jones from Innovate UK. The panel discussed areas such as the UK’s position regarding technology and innovation in terms of the UK keeping pace globally, the challenges facing the sector over the next 5-10 years, and what more government can do to support the sector going forward, acknowledging investments already made. Discussions here came from Kit Erlebach (FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership and BIA MAC), Nick Medcalf, Kath Mackay (Innovate UK), Mark Carver (Chair of BIA SIAC), Daniel Smith (Cobra Biologics), Gareth Jenkins (Arcinova) and Andy Dwyer (GlaxoSmithKline and MMIP). There was a real sense that now the focus is not solely on what is manufactured but on driving innovation in how products are manufactured. The need for skilled people, alongside the fundamental science to underpin industrial innovation was also discussed.

Alongside plenty of networking opportunities, the event afforded delegates the opportunity to have direct discussions with not only Innovate UK and KTN, but also our colleagues from EPSRC, BBSRC, Teeside University KTP, Enterprise Europe Network, the Catapult network, the Department of International Trade and the Office for Life Sciences. The event demonstrated the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fun in action.


If you’d like to find out more information about the various funding opportunities available to your business, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Knowledge Transfer Network’s Health Team.

Click here to get in touch with KTN’s Specialist in Medicines and Advanced Therapies, Sarah Goulding.

Click here to get in touch with Knowledge Transfer Manager for Health, Marcel Kuiper.

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