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New £56m investment in Scotland to strengthen the UK’s place in the global pharma industry

  • UK to capture a bigger slice of the  global £98bn small molecule pharma market
  • 80 new jobs to be created by 2023; a further 90 created or retained during design & construction
  • £80 million of new R&D investment by 2028

A new £56 million UK innovation centre, which will revolutionise how medicines are manufactured, is to be located in Renfrewshire.

Protecting future generations by bringing new medicines to market safely and quickly is one of the biggest health challenges facing the world today.

A world-first, the new industry-led Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) will offer pharma companies, from start-ups through to multinational organisations, a unique service to develop and adopt novel manufacturing techniques to adapt into their own manufacturing processes.  By transforming processes and technologies, the speed of bringing new drugs to market could improve drastically.

With a global market worth £98 billion, this investment will help put the UK, and Scotland, at the forefront of technology and innovation in small molecule pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing which still makes up the bulk of how new medicines are made.  The pharmaceutical sector in Scotland employs 5000 people directly and supports a further 16,500 jobs.

Supported by Scottish Enterprise (£15 million), UK Research and Innovation, through Innovate UK (£13 million) GSK and AstraZeneca (£7 million each), the MMIC is one of the early projects across the UK to receive funding from the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Benefiting companies right across the UK, industry has played a key role in shaping and developing the MMIC to ensure its success.

The new centre will be positioned next to the £65 million National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) and at the heart of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.   The MMIC aims to attract over £80 million of R&D investment by 2028 and will create 80 high value jobs directly by 2023.  Up to 90 jobs will also be created or retained in companies involved in the design and build phase and post-construction.

Indirect employment will be generated through start-ups, SMEs and large companies that will grow their businesses using the transformative manufacturing technologies developed within the MMIC.

Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse, said: “I am delighted that the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) will be located in Scotland, given its potential to become a global centre of excellence and bringing significant benefits to Scotland’s economy. The location of the MMIC is also a very positive endorsement of Scotland’s Life and Chemical Science sectors and will build on our internationally recognised strengths in both Research and Development and manufacturing.

“Scottish Enterprise, on behalf of Scottish Ministers, is investing £15 million in the MMIC helping to fulfil the vision of Scotland’s Life Sciences Strategy. This will help to make Scotland the location of choice for the life sciences community and help us grow the industry’s contribution to the Scottish Economy by 90%, to £8 billion by 2025.

“As well as helping to attract further manufacturing investment to Scotland, the Centre will also be well placed to support new business start-ups and spin-outs and enable established life and chemical science companies to profit from innovation.

“Whilst the Centre will be located within the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation District in Renfrewshire, alongside the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland, we are taking a range of steps to ensure that the Sector across the whole of Scotland is able to benefit from the project.”

UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, added: “This is great news for the UK’s Life Sciences sector and especially important for Scotland in re-enforcing its global reputation as a centre for cutting edge scientific endeavour.  We need more new medicines to tackle deadly diseases more quickly and through our modern Industrial Strategy we want to see more of this world leading research and manufacture done here in the UK, bringing highly skills jobs and greater prosperity with it.  The UK Government has provided significant backing to this project, with UK Research and Innovation investing £13 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.”

Linda Hanna, Managing Director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “We are delighted to welcome the new MMIC to Scotland. There is no other facility like this in the world and is a fantastic endorsement of Scotland as an ideal place to invest in global excellence in high value manufacturing drawing on our skills, innovative companies and academic expertise.

“Industry leadership and co-investment has been central to shaping this centre and will remain at the heart of what makes it a success, providing a platform for companies right across the UK to collaborate, innovate and develop world-leading medicine manufacturing processes and technologies.”

Ian Campbell, Innovate UK Interim Executive Chair, said: “This is a fantastic investment for the UK, and especially for Scotland, as we look to place cutting-edge innovation at the heart of tackling some of society’s greatest 21st century challenges.

“UK Research and Innovation is leading the charge to bring the UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy to life – translating research into commercial success, building on our industrial strengths and sustaining economic prosperity across our communities.  Our job at Innovate UK, working within the UK Research and Innovation family, is to help good ideas become great businesses delivering products and services which change lives for the better.

“The new MMIC promises to enhance Scotland’s reputation as a trusted centre for high value manufacturing, while transforming the UK’s standing within the global pharmaceutical industry.”

Dr Dave Tudor, Chair of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group, and Vice President, Head of Global Manufacturing and Supply Strategy for GSK, said: “Industry, government, academia and others are working together to secure an internationally competitive leadership position for the UK in life sciences for the long-term. GSK has long advocated the value of collaborations like the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to capitalise on our world-class science base and deliver innovation that drives growth and improves patient care. As the UK’s largest life sciences company and one of its biggest investors in research, we are delighted to have an active involvement in this new Centre.”

Andy Evans, Chair of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) and Head of Macclesfield Site for AstraZeneca,said: “The UK must remain a globally attractive and competitive location for advanced medicines manufacturing as this is key element in our economy making a very significant contribution to our exports. Enabling the growth of medicines manufacturing is hence a key part of a successful Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and the MMIP is pleased to see this combined investment between Business and Government in manufacturing innovation.

“For AstraZeneca, our research activities in Cambridge are complemented by our strong presence in the North West of England which is a location for innovation, where our development scientists partner with experts in high-tech manufacturing to turn molecules into new medicines. We are very pleased to be a founding partner in the new MMIC, along with others across industry and the Scottish and UK governments.  Our ambition is for patients worldwide to benefit from the accelerated adoption of emerging and novel medicine manufacturing technologies developed in the UK.”

The MMIC will be led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) and the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP).

Nigel Perry MBE FREng, Chief Executive Officer at CPI, said: “The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will enhance the UK’s existing competitive advantage by deepening the skills base and strengthening the rationale for companies to invest in new, highly productive medicines manufacturing.

“CPI is delighted to be working alongside the University of Strathclyde, Innovate UK, Scottish Government and our industry partners to deliver this globally unique centre that will prepare the pharmaceutical supply chain for vital, next generation medicines and further extend CPI’s healthcare capabilities.”

Professor Sir Jim McDonald, Principal of the University of Strathclyde, said: “Strathclyde has earned an international reputation for research and innovation that accelerates and enhances the manufacturing of medicines and pharmaceuticals. As strategic partners in MMIC, we will have an enhanced role in supporting industry to deliver urgently-needed medicines both swiftly and effectively. The challenges of health are among the biggest facing today’s world; they are changing rapidly and continually and medicine must keep pace with them to provide solutions. MMIC will provide world-class talent, research capability, technology, facilities, knowledge and experience to industry to ensure these challenges are met.”

Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “This is a strong signal of intent from Government and the pharmaceutical industry that they are ready to get behind the UK as a global leader in medicines manufacturing.

“Medicines manufacturing is no longer the siloed, labour intensive process of yesteryear.  This cutting edge centre instead provides a unique space for academics, research scientists and manufacturing partners to work side by side designing new ways to transition the medicines of the future out of development and in to the supply chain.

“Global pharmaceutical companies are already excited about UK science, our world leading Universities and unique research centres and this facility means we now have a manufacturing innovation site to rival anything in the world.”

Steve Bates, CEO of the Bioindustry Association (BIA), added: “Improving productivity in drug development is vital to economic innovation for our sector. Enabling that to happen in the UK gives us competitive advantage and is a good example of joined up industrial strategy in action.”

 Find out more about Scotland’s strengths in pharmaceutical services here. 


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