If you’ve heard of Alnwick, a tiny English country town nestled near the country’s border with Scotland, there’s a good chance you’re a Harry Potter buff.
The town is famous for Alnwick Castle, an 11th-century fortress featured as Hogwarts in the megahit movie series' first two films. But, as it turns out, the school of witchcraft and wizardry isn’t one of Alnwick’s largest employers; Quotient Sciences is.
The Nottingham, U.K.-based CDMO acquired Arcinova and its manufacturing facility in Alnwick in early February with the aim of integrating its drug substance, drug product and clinical testing capabilities all under a single organization.
Specifically, the Alnwick facility, which specializes in small-molecule production, is geared to help Quotient move “further upstream in the drug development process,” Quotient’s Roger Kilburn, a senior vice president of candidate development services, said in an interview.
But the company isn’t stopping there. The drugmaker plans to funnel £6.3 million (about $8.7 million) into the facility, which will conjure up an additional 80 jobs over the next three years. Construction will start in a month and should wrap up by the end of the first quarter in 2022, Kilburn said.
Quotient aims to rapidly develop molecules into commercial products through end-to-end manufacturing and will use its latest investment to repurpose 1,500 square meters (16,146 square feet) worth of space at the Alnwick facility.
By coupling the CDMO’s manufacturing capabilities with the Alnwick facility’s drug substance expertise, Quotient hopes to target earlier stages of the drug development cycle. The facility is geared to make smaller volume, highly potent drugs—a requirement for more precision medicines, Kilburn said.
“We’ve typically worked at preclinical to first-in-man type scale so far, and we believe this will take us through late phase 2, possibly full-scale phase 3 and full scale manufacturing, for lower volume drugs,” Kilburn said.
With the latest investment, Quotient will stock the facility with additional equipment with cutting-edge digital control and data capture technologies. Quotient will also add processing equipment with advances in modular continuous technology.
These additions, along with a fivefold increase in the site’s scale, will increase the company’s ability to develop complex medicines more than tenfold, Quotient says.
The CDMO's latest investment only covers about half of the available space at the site, which once served as an animal vivarium, Kilburn said. The old animal house has multiple, highly ventilated rooms that lend themselves to Quotient's modular manufacturing technique, Kilburn said.
“I think that this is the beginning of the journey, not the end,” Kilburn said. “There’s scope for part two of this project.”