Seventeen new projects will receive a share of £13m in funding for cutting-edge medicine manufacturing, delivered by the Innovate UK Transforming Medicine Manufacturing programme.

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has announced the winners of a series of competitions focusing on:

  • Nucleic acid medicines manufacturing
  • Intracellular drug delivery
  • Digitalisation and automation

The projects span across the country to address different challenges.

These include innovative technologies for nucleic acid manufacturing and intracellular drug delivery to improve vaccines and therapeutics deployment while also implementing digital and automation technologies to accelerate medicines manufacturing.

£10m from the Chancellor’s Life Sci for Growth package will help to bolster the UK’s health resilience.

The firms being funded include BioToolomics, which is working on a project to reduce waste and cost in vaccine development, Vitarka Therapeutics, which is developing a delivering technology for a cancer medicine, and Micron Design, which is developing new methods for the optimisation of pharmaceutical freeze-drying.

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Sarah Goulding, executive director at healthy living and agriculture domain at Innovate UK, said: “There is a real breadth of innovation and collaboration across businesses being funded through Innovate UK’s Transforming Medicines Manufacturing programme.

“This underscores our ambitious vision to de-risk technology, boost economic growth, build resilience into the UK healthcare ecosystem and ultimately to make the UK a centre of excellence in medicines manufacturing innovation.”

Mark Talford, deputy challenge director at Medicines Manufacturing at Innovate UK, said: “This support for collaboration across the UK medicines manufacturing landscape to develop innovative nucleic acid medicines will drive forward digitalisation and automation technology.

“The team is really looking forward to working with the projects towards successful outcomes.”

The full list of projects

  • Exactmer

This project will focus on a step change in the process efficiency and sustainability of the NanostarSieving platform for the synthesis of oligos on large-scale.

  • VaxEquity

A joint manufacturing-based project between CPI and VaxEquity to optimise and deliver efficiencies in the production of self-amplifying RNA for novel vaccines and therapeutics.

  • BioToolomics

This project will streamline production of mRNA medicines and vaccines, improving their quality and reducing waste, to make them easier and cheaper to manufacture.

  • Intellegens

Intellegens and CPI are developing a gold standard software tool, including data and novel machine learning approaches, to advance oligonucleotide-therapeutic characterisation and manufacturing.

  • BiologIC Technologies

This project complements BiologIC’s flexible RNA manufacturing platform with DeepMirror’s artificial intelligence algorithms to accelerate the development of novel RNA treatments.

  • Micron Design

The Digital Lyo project will develop new methods for the optimisation of pharmaceutical freeze-drying processes in the manufacture of injectable drug products (medicines).

  • Autolomous

This project aims to improve cell and gene therapy (CGT) manufacturing through automation or digitalisation, reducing costs of CGT products and increasing patient access to life-changing therapies.

  • FourPlus Immersive

This project, led by FourPlus Immersive, with Holosphere and Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult will build a customisable, mixed reality platform that enables digitalisation and automation of training for medicines manufacturing.

  • Rentschler ATMP

This project implements process analytical technologies to increase efficiency, ultimately improving patient access.

  • pHion Therapeutics

In collaboration with CPI and the University of Strathclyde, pHion Therapeutics will develop liquid and lyophilised formulations for its next generation peptide or mRNA vaccine platform.

  • Aqdot

Aqdot, Centillion Technologies and the University of Nottingham will develop microBiofoundry-in-a-Box technology and supramolecular RNA-therapeutic-delivery systems for local, on-demand production of triple-negative breast cancer therapeutics.

  • Micropore Technologies

Micropore, Labman and CPI are pleased to be involved in ‘rapid development of intracellular drug delivery innovations’ using combined technologies to produce and analyse lipid nanoparticles.

  • Sixfold Biosciences

This project will progress the development and manufacturing of Sixfold’s Mergo formulations for the delivery of siRNA therapeutics to cells-of-interest, through economised, upscaled and high-throughput processes.

  • Cell Guidance Systems

The technology specifically targets the phagocytic immune cells which play a pivotal role in our bodies’ defences.

  • Theragenix

Gene therapy in a powder aims to develop the world’s first dry powder gene therapy formulation for bone graft augmentation based on our proprietary technology platform.

  • Vitarka Therapeutics

Vitarka is developing a delivery technology, EndoPore, that releases siRNA drugs inside cancer cells. This award with CPI will develop an efficient EndoPore manufacturing process.

  • RNAssist

The team will develop universal stabilisers to simplify and reduce the cost of manufacturing and delivery to the clinic of highly active mRNA medicines without freezers.