The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has announced that its new National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will be located in Darlington, UK. The independent industry advisory board chose Darlington based on accessibility in the form of excellent transport links, particularly the East Coast Mainline, close proximity to existing pharmaceutical companies and relevant universities in the north of England in addition to growth opportunities within the Tees Valley Enterprise Zone.
Commenting on the new centre, Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts MP said: “The new National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics, keeping us ahead in the global race and strengthening the UK’s position as the location of choice for life sciences companies.”
CPI is the process industry element of the UK government’s national manufacturing strategy, dubbed the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. A network of seven technology and innovation centres tasked with stimulating growth within manufacturing sectors throughout the UK.
Biologics or Biopharmaceuticals are medicines manufactured using biotechnology. The products have biological foundations, usually involving live organisms such as cells, bacteria, yeast and others as tools to perform specific manufacturing processes.
Pharmaceuticals produced through biotechnology are delivering significant advances in healthcare. Completely new medicines are being created, notably for rare or previously untreatable diseases. The use of biotechnology is also revolutionising the research and development of new medicines allowing better product targeting and personalised treatments for specific diseases and patient groups.
The new centre, which forms part of CPI, will help companies of all sizes in the biologics market to develop, prove, demonstrate, scale up and ultimately commercialise new biologics process technologies.
Biological medicines already account for around 10–15% of the current pharmaceutical market and the sector is outperforming the market as a whole. Significantly, more than one-fifth of new medicines launched on the world market each year are now biotechnology-derived. This will likely grow with the scientific advances currently underway; and the application of biotechnology in healthcare is leading to an increasing number of innovative products.
The flagship National Biologics Centre is part of the UK Governments Strategy for Life Science and will help UK companies to develop a competitive foothold in the growing global biopharmaceutical market.
Dr. Chris Dowle, Director of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, said: “The new facility will support the development of new innovative process technologies and manufacturing routes. We will provide both large and small companies with open access facilities to prove and scale up their process, therefore reducing risk associated with product development. We will build on the UK's competencies in biopharmaceuticals to position ourselves as world leading."
Steve Bates, Chief Executive Officer of The BioIndustry Association, said: "The National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will provide a valuable resource for the biologics manufacturing sector in the UK. The centre will help the UK capture more of the expanding global market in high value, high quality manufacture of biologic medicines. It is another key piece in the jigsaw in developing a supportive ecosystem for the bioscience sector alongside successful measures such as the Biomedical Catalyst, Patent Box and the Cell Therapy Catapult.”