GSK is participating in a UK Government-backed innovative manufacturing initiative aimed at revitalising the sector.
UK pharmaceutical manufacturing is facing pressures as companies outsource, offshore and cutback to lower fixed costs. In response, the UK government is creating centres for innovative manufacturing that will collaborate with businesses to tackle major research challenges.
“These new centres will combine inventive research and business acumen to develop the high-tech manufacturing industries we need to secure sustainable growth", said David Willetts, UK Universities and Science Minister.
Funding of £45m ($73m) has been allocated to set up the manufacturing centres, two of which are focused on the biopharm sector. Work at the centres is intended to position the UK at the forefront of biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
A University of Strathclyde centre is aiming to drive the shift from batch to fully continuous manufacturing. Funding of £4.9m, with a further £1.8m coming from industry partners, has been allocated to support the work into higher quality, lower cost and more sustainable production.
University College London is leading the creation of a centre for innovative manufacturing in emergent macromolecular therapies. The centre aims to reduce costs by creating capabilities for selecting drug candidates on the basis of clinical efficacy and manufacturing feasibility.
A grant of £4.9m, and a further £3.9m from industry partners, will be used to fund the centre. Similar sized grants are funding seven other centres looking at topics such as industrial sustainability and intelligent automation.
The remaining £6m of the £51m budget is being used to fund fellowships. At least six five-year fellowships will be funded to help bridge the culture gap between universities and industry.