Earlier this month the CPI announced that a site Darlington in the North East of England had been selected as the location for the £38m (€57m) UK National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC), plans for which were outlined by Chancellor George Osborne in March.
Spokeswoman Helen Briggs told BioPharma-Reporter.com the NBMC – construction of which will begin in 2014 – is designed to foster the development of new biomanufacturing and analytical technologies and predicted that industry stands to benefit considerably when it is operational in 2015.
“[The NBMC] will dramatically reduce development costs," she said adding that "as many companies, in particular SME’s, will not have the existing facilities to be able to trial these processes and would therefore have to put a significant amount of investment into the development of their own facility."
“Also the manufacturing sector is largely geared up for process development and manufacture of the existing platform technologies,” Briggs said, adding that the “NBMC will help companies with molecules that fall outside of these categories determine manufacturability and undertake early stage process development.”
“We envisage that the major equipment suppliers will also undertake alpha and beta testing of new equipment technologies in the hub.”
Hub and spoke structure
Biopharmaceutical companies that use the NBMC will either pay a commercial rate for use or gain access through a public private partnership, such as the Horizon 2020 project.
Briggs explained that in addition to the Darlington ‘hub,’ BioPharmas that use the site will be able to access facilities available at various ‘spoke’ partners at existing centres across the UK.
For the UK Government the rationale for setting up the NBMC is straightforward according to Briggs.
“The idea is to showcase the UK as a centre of excellence in the development and manufacture of biologics. In addition we want to be seen as the place where innovative platforms and process technologies are developed and commercialised.”
The approach is similar to the Ireland’s National Institute for Bioprocessing Research and Training, However, as Briggs pointed out, the Darlington centre has a broader scope and will provide manufacturing space as well as training.
“We have generated a lot of interest across the UK Biologics sector and are about to start talking to potential partners about working on early programmes using CPIS existing facilities at Wilton with NBMC equipment. All activities will transfer to Darlington once the facility is complete.”