Small-scale will be the next big thing says UK’s CPI

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Innovation

UK National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington
UK National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington
Small-scale production techs will dominate biopharma says the UK organisation tasked with developing the £20m “biologics factory of the future” and the £38m National Biologics Manufacturing Centre in Darlington.

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) – part of the UK Government’s high value manufacturing catapult programme – made the prediction today, explaining that the drug sector's focus on niche, small volume products is being driven by scientific advances.

Technical advances in DNA sequencing are enabling medical researchers to determine the molecular basis of disease, which facilitates the differentiation of single diseases into multiple subtypes which in turn enables the design of therapies that specifically address the causative factors of the disease​.”

Production of these therapies will necessitate changes to the “one size fits all​” manufacturing paradigm that dominates drug making according to the CPI, which said: “The production of small volumes of an increasing number of therapies is not practical or cost effective in the current manufacturing formats.

There are a number of potential solutions to this challenge, including scaling down and integrating process technologies into a small scale single format manufacturing unit which can rapidly change between different products and can produce small volumes of specific therapies cost effectively​.”

Scale down

A CPI spokeswoman told us the organisation aims to help firms scale down production operations.

She added that smaller scale technologies are what the “CPI will be working towards in the Biologics Factory of the Future.”

The Factory of the future – development of which is being funded using a £20m grant from the Tees Valley Unlimited Local Enterprise Partnership – will allow drugmakers to test new manufacturing technologies. It is due to be operational in 2017.

The NBMC​ is intended to allow firm to assess the manufacturability of innovative biopharmaceutical products.

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