Global pharmaceutical representatives are gathering today in Renfrewshire for the official opening of a new £26 million facility dedicated to speeding up development and manufacturing of new medicines.

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre is the eighth in a string of such facilities across the UK operated by technology innovation catalyst CPI, and its first in Scotland. The operation officially launches with 60 scientists, engineers and technicians on the payroll, with plans for that to rise to more than 100.

The centre is supported by £88m of public and private funding, and is expected to attract an initial £200m of investment to the area. Backers say this will further enhance Scotland's global reputation as a hub for life sciences and manufacturing innovation.

CPI director Dave Tudor said the centre will bring together key players to address issues such as how to reduce waste and lower the pharmaceutical industry's carbon footprint through more efficient manufacturing processes. Research will be focused on cell and gene therapy, RNA and monoclonal antibodies.

The Herald: Dave Tudor (left), Frank Millar and John Arthur of the CPIDave Tudor (left), Frank Millar and John Arthur of the CPI (Image: CPI)

“The facility we have built here in Renfrewshire is the first example of a consistent and concerted effort from the pharma industry to collaborate," Mr Tudor said. "This will be crucial to unlocking the challenges we’ve faced so far to translate research into tangible benefits that will help address unmet health needs."

The 5,000sq metre facility is located next to the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland at the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS) next to Glasgow Airport, and is a collaboration between CPI and 23 partner organisations from the pharmaceutical, business, academic and government sectors.

Among there are the University of Strathclyde, Scottish Enterprise, and UK Research and Innovation. Global pharmaceutical firms AstraZeneca and GSK are also founding partners.

Other partners include Pfizer, Novartis and Alnylam, as well as business advisers PwC and technology leaders Siemens and Applied Materials.

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“As part of AMIDS, and sitting alongside the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, this new facility will help to develop the technologies, systems, processes and products that will transform pharmaceutical manufacturing in this country and significantly boost the local economy," said Sir Jim McDonald, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Strathclyde.

"Scotland’s global reputation for advanced manufacturing is growing at pace, and the exciting Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre investment will further enhance this."

Of the total £88m of public and private investment in the facility and its operations, £43m has come from the UK and Scottish governments and £44.9m from industry. The former includes £16m from Scottish Enterprise.

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Established in 2004 by UK Government agency ONE NorthEast, Yorkshire-headquartered CPI is one of five centres of excellence in a long-term strategy to "reposition" the north-east of England on the world stage for research and development.

With 700 employees across the UK, the CPI has strengthened its links north of the border through the recent appointments of Scottish business leaders Jackie Waring, chair of AccelerateHER, and Myrtle Dawes, director of the Aberdeen-based Net Zero Solution Centre, to its board of directors. The CPI is also a partner in the Digital Process Manufacturing Centre in North Ayrshire.