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Dr Stephen Ward at last year’s bioProcessUK conference

The UK medicine manufacturing industry, one of our leading manufacturing sectors, continues to flourish. Importantly for our industry, the global demand for biologicals and vaccines rises year on year, whilst cell therapies have also reached a stage of clinical maturity. Ahead of this year’s 12th Annual bioProcessUK Conference, Dr Stephen Ward, Chair of BIA’s Manufacturing Advisory Committee and COO of the Cell Therapy Catapult, discusses the impact of recent government investment in the sector, in the form of the newly launched National Biologics Manufacturing Centre and the forthcoming Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre.

Increasing the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologicals, vaccines and advanced therapies strengthens our position as the location of choice for life science companies. The BIA is active in this area, through the Manufacturing Advisory Committee (MAC). The committee acts as a platform for BIA members involved in manufacturing to input into the industrial manufacturing agenda through the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP); advising the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC) on industry needs and working with other Innovate UK Catapults and UK Centres of Excellence.

The official launch of the Centre for Process Innovation’s new £38m NBMC in Darlington took place last month. Announced in 2012 as part of the Government’s Strategy for UK Life Sciences, the NBMC will support companies of all sizes to develop, prove and commercialise new biological and vaccine process technologies. The Centre is a fantastic addition to our ecosystem in the UK, significantly increasing our manufacturing development capacity in biologics and bolstering our position as a world-leading location for life science companies. The NBMC was officially opened by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science and Steve Bagshaw, CEO of BIA member FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies, with BIA CEO Steve Bates also invited to speak. For further details on how to utilise the NBMC, do visit the CPI website.

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Jo Johnson at the opening of the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre

Another national asset which is vital to the long term success of our world-class cell and gene therapy sector is the state-of-the-art £55 million Cell Therapy Catapult manufacturing centre, currently under development at the Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst. Announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2014, the centre is designed to allow UK and global companies to have a secure manufacturing supply chain for pivotal clinical trials and early commercial supply. The large-scale GMP manufacturing centre is expected to create up to 150 jobs, and will help create a manufacturing supply chain cluster that shall capture long term value for the UK.

Both of these investments support the growth of the medicines manufacturing industry and will be key on the agenda at this year’s Annual bioProcessUK Conference.

BIA MAC has delivered this year’s programme, centring on the theme of “Manufacturing tomorrow’s medicines today”. The conference will kick off on 25 November with a Parkinson-style fireside chat where experts will debate over the manufacturing and supply chain challenges facing all medicine types and discuss what we can learn from each other. The latest innovations from early stage career researchers will be presented in a snappy poster flash session and there will be opportunity to hear an update from the MMIP on its progress and how you can get involved. The conference wouldn’t be complete without an insight into the recent investment explosion within the exciting immune-oncology cell therapy sector, highlighted by talks from the UK’s leading companies in this field.

The 12th Annual bioProcessUK Conference takes place on 25 – 26 November at the Wellcome Genome Campus, Hinxton, Cambridge, with the conference dinner taking place at the iconic Imperial War Museum, Duxford where delegates will dine amongst aircraft from across the years. For full programme details and to register your place, visit the conference website.

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