News story

Manufacturing new medicines: apply for Industrial Strategy funds

First £15 million funding opportunity announced in £146 million leading-edge healthcare challenge, designed to speed up access to medicines.

Elderly patient walks with a doctor

UK businesses and research organisations can apply for a share of £15 million for innovative medicines manufacturing solutions. These should speed up access to new medicines and treatments, improve public health and build on the strengths of the UK’s biopharmaceutical sector.

The funding was announced today by Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health.

It is part of the leading-edge healthcare challenge in government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. There is a £146 million commitment over 4 years to develop technologies and facilities that support the manufacture of medicines.

Developing new solutions

The competition for feasibility studies and industrial research and development projects is the first opportunity from the challenge.

Innovate UK will invest up to £15 million in UK businesses that address technical or commercial issues. The aim is to develop innovative methods or technologies that improve the manufacture of medicines for people.

We are looking for projects that focus on:

  • in-process monitoring, control and release testing
  • maintenance of product-critical quality parameters such as purity, potency and viability
  • formulation processes
  • packaging and storage processes
  • product characterisation
  • process challenges for increasing the scale of production
  • process development and transfer for novel medicines
  • transfer of technology from small-scale manufacturing to a good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing facility
  • lowering of the cost of goods
  • increasing the yield of active ingredient
  • increasing the speed of production cycle
  • methods to increase the flexibility of established manufacturing facilities
  • adaptation of processes from batch to continuous production

There will be other opportunities for businesses and research organisations within this challenge.

These include establishing a number of new centres that support medicines manufacturing innovation, vaccine development and advanced therapy treatments.

Market opportunity

The global medicines industry is in a period of significant change. Healthcare systems worldwide are demanding access to cost-effective, innovative medicines with improved patient outcomes.

At the same time, our improved understanding of disease is driving the move towards precision medicine. New, more complex types of medicines are being developed, which are presenting a manufacturing challenge in terms of scale and delivery to large numbers of patients.

Through the leading-edge healthcare challenge we will support the need for a fundamental shift in how medicines are developed and manufactured. It will help UK businesses and research organisations take advantage of the £64 billion lifesciences industry.

Competition information

  • this competition opens on 4 September 2017 and the deadline for applications is 1 November 2017
  • total project costs should:
    • range in size from £50,000 to £100,000 and last up to one year for feasibility studies
    • range up to £2 million and last up to 3 years for industrial research and experimental development
  • you could get up to 70% of your project costs
  • you must start your project by 1 February 2018
  • there will be a briefing event on 13 September 2017
Published 30 August 2017