The following guest blog is from Sarah Goulding of Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN). Sarah explains a new £15m Innovate UK funding competition to drive innovation in medicines manufacturing. This was announced alongside this week’s Life Sciences Industrial Strategy and reflects many calls the BIA has made both individually and as part of the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership. It is great to see SMEs at the forefront of these announcements and this new funding competition.

The launch of the £15m medicines manufacturing round 1: challenge fund competition will be welcomed by the industry, in particular members of Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) and the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce. This funding call is part of the delivery plan for the first wave of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) and the Leading Edge Healthcare challenge, initially defined in the April  UK government announcement and includes £146m investments in support of medicines manufacturing technologies.

The funding competition has a wide-ranging scope yet gives a clear message that through the ISCF and wider strategy, funding bodies such as Innovate UK and the Research Councils are responding to enable industry to accelerate innovation opportunities in the UK that will yield economic benefit in the long term.

KTN have been closely involved in these discussions and deliberations from the start, as a partner in the MMIP which recently published its Roadmap, and during the delivery of the work of the Advanced Therapies Manufacturing Taskforce, as well as our work directly with large companies, SMEs and the supply chain, and the associated trade associations, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) and Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries (ABPI).

Collaborative R&D funding of this nature, similar to the Catalyst funding in Industrial Biotechnology and the Biomedical sector, will enable the UK to grow and capture the value chain from earlier stage investments in medicines R+D. The Biomedical Catalyst has been well received by industry as being instrumental in the drive to support the development of a new pipeline of molecules and technologies and highly successful in leveraging substantial private sector funding. The medicines manufacturing call will further enable companies to invest in developing scaled up approaches or improvement of manufacturing processes for these novel molecules with a view to providing medicines at cheaper cost to patients.

Investment aimed at accelerating translational research and development, will also support job creation, knowledge transfer, skills development and innovation for the UK that will bolster our position to harness larger commercial manufacturing investments for new complex medicines in the future.

KTN is on standby to support innovative companies looking to access funding through this call to propel their innovations forward.  Join us at this event or by webinar for the full Innovate UK briefing event.