Faster medicine: £56 million innovation centre for Scotland

Medical manufacturing facility.
The new centre will offer businesses support to transform processes and technologies.

A new centre to help companies develop processes and technologies for manufacturing medicines could benefit future generations by helping new medicines reach patients safely and quickly.

By supporting both start-ups and multinational pharmaceutical companies it’s hoped that the speed in which new medicines reach the market will increase significantly.

It is one of the biggest health challenges facing society and aligns with the leading-edge healthcare challenge – part of the government’s modern Industrial Strategy. The project will receive £13 million from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. This funding is provided by UK Research and Innovation, through Innovate UK.

The rest of the funding for the £56 million centre will be provided by Scottish Enterprise, alongside private industry support from AstraZeneca and GSK.

Global market

It is hoped that the new investment into UK medicines manufacturing will help the country access a global market said to be worth £98 billion.

The MMIC is intended to help the UK lead the world in the development of new technologies and processes in small molecule pharmaceutical and fine chemical manufacturing. This is how the majority of medicines are currently made and the centre is intended to boost capabilities in these forms of manufacturing medicines.

UK Minster, Lord Duncan, said:

This is great news for the UK’s world-leading Life Sciences sector, and especially important for Scotland in re-enforcing its global reputation as a centre for cutting edge scientific endeavour. We need more new medicines to tackle deadly diseases more quickly, and we want to see more of their research and manufacture done here in the UK, bringing highly skilled jobs and greater prosperity with it.

Paul Wheelhouse, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy added:

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.

The centre will also be well placed to support new business start-ups and spin-outs and enable established life and chemical science companies to profit from innovation.

Centre expectations

The MMIC is expected to lead to £80 million in research and development investment by 2028 and create 80 jobs directly by 2023, with 90 created or retained by companies involved in the design and building of the centre.

A significant number of jobs are also expected to arise through indirect employment from start-ups, SMEs and larger companies that benefit from the work done at the MMIC.

Ian Campbell, Innovate UK Executive Chair, said:

UK Research and Innovation is leading the charge to bring the UK government’s modern Industrial Strategy to life – translating research into commercial success, building on our industrial strengths and sustaining economic prosperity across our communities.

The new MMIC promises to enhance Scotland’s reputation as a trusted centre for high value manufacturing, while transforming the UK’s standing within the global pharmaceutical industry.


The proposal for the centre has been developed with significant industry input. The project was led by the Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP), which consists of a number of pharmaceutical companies including GSK and AstraZeneca.

The MMIP, alongside the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) in partnership with the Centre for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation (CMAC) led by the University of Strathclyde, will run the centre.

Andy Evans, Chair of the MMIP and Head of Macclesfield Site for AstraZeneca said:

Our ambition is for patients worldwide to benefit from the accelerated adoption of emerging and novel medicine manufacturing technologies developed in the UK.

Chair of the Scottish Life Sciences Industry Leadership Group, and Vice President, Head of Global Manufacturing and Supply Strategy for GSK, Dr Dave Tudor, said:

Industry, government, academia and others need to work together to secure an internationally competitive leadership position for the UK in life sciences for the long-term.

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