U.K. commits cash to $24.7M industry-focused formulation center

Another piece of the United Kingdom's push to create a National Formulation Centre fell into place this week when a state-funded group joined with industry to commit £14.4 million ($24.7 million) to a product and process design facility. The new site will support companies with the development, prototyping and scale-up of formulated products.

The £14.4 million investment--£7 million of which is coming from industry--is part of a broader effort to tap into formulation expertise at British universities and businesses to support the manufacturing sector. Staff at the Centre for Process Innovation will use the cash to build capabilities that help companies with two of the priority areas that emerged from a consultation last year: radical product design and radical process design.

Goals covered under these umbrellas include the creation of multiactive combination products with multiple release profiles and the ability to switch between batch and continuous processing. While the project spans multiple industries involved with product formulation, the specifics that came out of the consultation are relevant to British biopharma. AstraZeneca ($AZN) is involved with the National Formulation Centre project, as are AkzoNobel, Procter & Gamble ($PG) and Unilever.

Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Pfizer ($PFE) also contributed to the consultation, with the extent of industry input reflecting the intention to create infrastructure that helps companies. Having seen Big Pharma exit U.K. sites as their portfolios moved away from the powders and pills that underpinned British drug production, the government is now trying to tap academic expertise to lure more complex manufacturing.

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