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Ian McCubbin, Chair of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership, is stepping down from the role and reflects on the work achieved by MMIP over the past two years.

After two years of chairing the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) I am now in the process of handing over to Andy Evans, the Head of AstraZeneca’s manufacturing site in Macclesfield. Andy has already thrown himself into the role during what is a very interesting time, for two main reasons.

Firstly, MMIP has really established credibility in the medicines manufacturing community, and with Government and associated organisations. In many ways I know that MMIP is seen as a role model for how we should work with government in the Life Sciences sector. It is also very timely following the vote to leave the EU and as Government starts to design the Industrial Strategy and the Life Sciences Industrial Strategy within that.

As I reflect on our contribution, it’s clear we have progressed significantly with a number of important topics, not least the Advanced Therapy Manufacturing Taskforce (ATMT). The Taskforce published its  action plan in November and, while awaiting an official Government response, we are already seeing progress with a competition to be opened in February for viral vector capability and hopefully other funds from the industrial challenge fund opening soon too. We have progressed how to close the skills gap and we are working very closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Office for Life Sciences and the Department for International Trade on other actions.

Beyond the ATMT, MMIP continues to support the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and ADDoPT, both of which will contribute to medicines manufacturing innovation, and ultimately commercialisation and the sector’s contribution to the UK economy. The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre will provide an open-access hub where medicines manufacturing stakeholders can collaborate, research and pull through emerging technologies and manufacturing processes into a commercial manufacturing environment. ADDoPT is the Advanced Digital Design of Pharmaceutical Therapeutics, it creates virtual medicine manufacturing systems to make sure they are effective and efficient before creating them in the real world.

With the support of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, BioIndustry Association, Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Network and of course all the companies who have committed their valuable time and energy, MMIP has been able to create  momentum at exactly the right time. Some may say luck, but to paraphrase Gary Player, “The more we practice, the luckier we get.” I am very grateful to everybody who has generously thrown themselves into this project and I would urge anybody with a passion for the UK and medicines manufacture to find out more and to contribute to MMIP too.

I think Andy will do a great job as chair of MMIP and I am certain medicines manufacturing will form a very influential part in the future of the UK economy.

For more information about the MMIP, and how you can become involved, visit the MMIP webpage.