New pioneering facility

£56m backs ‘world first’ drugs R&D centre for Scotland

Paul Wheelhouse, Start2Scale, VentureFest

Paul Wheelhouse: ‘a very positive endorsement of Scotland’s life sector’ (pic: Terry Murden)


Scotland’s role at the centre of UK medicine research and manufacture is being backed by a £56 million investment in an innovation centre.

The ‘world first’ facility, to be based in Renfrewshire, will be industry led and will create 80 jobs over five years.

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) will offer pharma companies, from start-ups through to multinational organisations, a unique service to develop and adopt novel manufacturing techniques to adapt into their own manufacturing processes.

By transforming processes and technologies, the speed of bringing new drugs to market could improve drastically.

With a global market worth £98 billion, this investment promises to put the UK and Scotland at the forefront of technology and innovation in small molecule pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing which still makes up the bulk of how new medicines are made.

The pharmaceutical sector in Scotland employs 5,000 directly and supports a further 16,500 jobs.

The MMIC is supported by Scottish Enterprise (£15 million), UK Research and Innovation, through Innovate UK (£13m) and GSK and AstraZeneca (£7m each).

It is one of the first projects across the UK to receive funding from the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The new centre will occupy a site next to the £65n National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland (NMIS) and at the heart of an Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District.

The MMIC aims to attract over £80 million of R&D investment by 2028 and apart from creating 80 high value jobs directly by 2023 up to 90 jobs will be created or retained in companies involved in the design and build phase and post-construction.

Scottish Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse, described the MMIC as “a very positive endorsement of Scotland’s life and chemical science sectors”.

He said: “This will help to make Scotland the location of choice for the life sciences community and help us grow the industry’s contribution to the Scottish Economy by 90%, to £8 billion by 2025.”

UK Government Minister, Lord Duncan, added: “This is great news for the UK’s Life Sciences sector and especially important for Scotland in re-enforcing its global reputation as a centre for cutting edge scientific endeavour.”

Linda Hanna, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “There is no other facility like this in the world…[it] is a fantastic endorsement of Scotland as an ideal place to invest in global excellence in high value manufacturing.”

She said: “Industry leadership and co-investment has been central to shaping this centre and will remain at the heart of what makes it a success.”

The MMIC will be led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in partnership with the University of Strathclyde’s Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) and the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP).

Mike Thompson, CEO of the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), said: “This is a strong signal of intent from Government and the pharmaceutical industry that they are ready to get behind the UK as a global leader in medicines manufacturing.”

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