UK invests to streamline manufacture of next-gen medicine

By Ben Hargreaves

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Talaj)
(Image: Getty/Talaj)

Related tags NICE Kymriah CAR-T

Funding of £7.3m will be provided across three initiatives, with the long-term aim of providing patients with access to cell and gene therapies at a faster rate.

Three companies will receive £4.3m ($5.5m) of the funding to adopt digital technologies to support the manufacture of next-generation treatments:

Oxford Biomedica​ will implement a robotics framework to increase capacity and reduce supply time for the manufacture of treatments.

Autulus​, based in London, will use the funds to develop a computer system that will monitor manufacturing operations and will be able to make autonomous adjustments to production.

Arc Trinova​, a Northumberland-based company, will develop track-and-trace technology for patient-specific treatments.

Lord Henley, life sciences minister, said: “Advances in technology can help us address the challenges that an ageing society presents and we are backing the technologies of tomorrow in our modern Industrial Strategy, with the biggest increase in public research and development investment in UK history.”

In regard to the scale of investment within manufacturing, a spokesperson from the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) explained, The Life Sciences Sector Deal aims to ensure that scientific discoveries made in the UK are manufactured in the UK. The government has committed £162m to develop the manufacturing infrastructure for innovative medicines and enable small- and medium-sized businesses to produce advanced therapies.”

Supporting the roll-out of advanced therapies

Investment of £3m will be provided to support Advanced Therapy Treatment Centres in delivering cell and gene therapies to patients. The latest funding adds to a previous injection of £21m from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The three hubs, covering the span of Britain, have been developed to create systems and methodologies to allow delivery of advanced therapeutics within the NHS.

Preparations could soon be tested after a recent recommendation by NICE​ means Novartis’ chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T treatment made available on the NHS in the coming weeks.

The spokesperson from the BEIS told us that this was the aim of Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive – who had outlined an ambition to make a CAR-T treatment available to patients before the end of the year.

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