Cambridge University’s IfM joins new hub for medicines manufacturing

Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing is to play a key role in a new research hub aimed at transforming the way medicines and other high value materials are made.

The hub, led by Strathclyde University, is one of six in the UK announced this week that is to share £60m of funding as part of the government’s industrial strategy.

The Future Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation (CMAC) Hub has been set up to develop manufacturing processes for high-value products – including medicines – which are estimated to generate £50bn each year for the UK economy.

One fifth of the hub’s funding comes from EPSRC with the remainder from industry collaborators, university support for studentships and through so-called key innovation system partners.

According to Cambridge University, the hub’s research team is supporting industry in moving from ‘batch crystallisation’ to ‘continuous crystallisation’, a more dynamic process which allows manufacturing to take place within smaller, more cost-effective facilities using smaller quantities of expensive ingredients and less energy, with more control over the final product quality and performance.

Under the leadership of Dr Jag Srai, head of the IfM’s Centre for International Manufacturing, Cambridge University researchers will be looking at how these new technologies and processes will transform the supply chains for medicines and other high value products.

Dr Jag Srai said: “Continuous manufacturing and digital supply chains have the potential to make truly personalised products and medicines a reality. We will be building on our current work looking at how digital supply chains can connect patients and consumers using sensors, diagnostics and smart packaging with the digital factory.”

Prof Andy Neely, head of the Institute for Manufacturing, said: “The work that Jag Srai and his team have been doing on pharmaceutical supply chains is genuinely ground-breaking and will play a key role in ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of pharmaceutical and advanced materials manufacturing and innovative supply.”