UK grants CRDO £1m to speed up production of complex medicines

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Sitthiphong)
(Image: Getty/Sitthiphong)

Related tags digital manufacturing Manufacturing formulation Patient centricity Robotics

The UK Government has granted Arcinova funds to develop its digital manufacturing platform to produce patient-specific medicine at an accelerated rate.

In an aim to be more economical, the Fill-Inova Project produces complex formulations in smaller volumes. To do so, Arcinova, a contract research and development organization (CRDO), uses digital technologies with automation and machine learning. Through Fill-Inova, the company says it will be able to produce on-demand, specific therapies for small patient populations.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will grant Arcinova £1m ($1.27m), with the funds provided as part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Gareth Jenkins, CSO at Arcinova, told us the grant is providing the capital investment required for some key production equipment, including a new robotic capsule filing system from 3P Innovation Limited.

Currently, the production rate of patient-specific drug products is limited to 200 units per hour; according to Arcinova, this rate of production is due to the lack of automation within the procedure but the firm states that its platform can produce 1,000 units per hour with the use of robotics.

The ability to produce products in such a short period of time will affect the clinical trial supply chain, according to Jenkins.

“There are a number of benefits envisioned for the clinical supply chain through the adoption of digital technologies,” ​he said. “The powder filling capsule system will be able to precisely weigh quantities from 1 milligram to 20 milligrams without any tool change requirements. Each capsule produced will be traceable with an accurate record of the dose weighed.”

According to Jenkins, medicines are trending toward increasing complexity, with small molecule drugs increasing in molecular weight, and combination therapies becoming more common.

“This complexity is being driven by a highly targeted, patient-centric approach, leading to medicines that are highly potent or highly precise in their mode of action. This, in turn, leads to much smaller production volumes for the medicine, which traditional chemical and drug manufacturers will struggle to service,”​ he explained.

Digital technologies and automation enable a more responsive production system to efficiently and economically produce short runs of product on demand.”

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