UK pumps £13M into wide-ranging group of manufacturing projects

Improved vaccines, cutting-edge mRNA medicines and accelerated drug production are at the heart of a new funding project in the U.K., where 17 companies have been selected for government grants to explore better ways to produce pharmaceuticals.

The companies are set to receive 13 million pounds sterling (about $16.6 million) from the Transformative Medicine Manufacturing program by Innovate UK, the U.K.’s innovation agency. The cash will be used to fuel a bevy of projects focused on nucleic acid medicines, intracellular drug delivery, digitalization and more.

Among the 17 winners are companies such as Rentschler, Vitarka, Exactmer, VaxEquity and Sixfold.

Rentschler, for example, will look to use "process analytical technologies to increase efficiency" in gene therapy production, according to a release from UK Research and Innovation.

Vitarka, for its part, will focus on intracellular drug delivery using its experimental delivery technology EndoPore, which releases small interfering RNA drugs inside cancer cells. Vitarka will use the U.K. funding to develop an efficient EndoPore manufacturing process, according to the release.

The U.K. has endorsed several manufacturing and vaccine projects in recent years.

Back in March, the country’s National Health Service Blood and Transplant, which manages blood and platelet donations, opened a new clinical biotech center to help boost the U.K.’s capacity to make DNA plasmids and viral vectors.

And in 2020, the U.K. started building the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to explore next-generation technologies to overhaul drug manufacturing.