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 In Events, Featured, News, North East News

Ian Shott gave an update on Innovation UK and its new funding arrangements.

We are waiting on the Brexit vote because that can affect ministerial shuffles. In their approach to innovation they want to differentiate themselves from the previous government. Currently the discussions revolve around the implementation – or partial implementation of the Nurse report.

Innovate UK is working out how to be constructive.

Brexit disruption of government  disrupts decision making. Catapults are already established and support for Catapults is in their manifesto, so the programme should continue.

Arcinova update. They have taken over a really good site. 150000 ft2 there are labs and clean rooms. They have closed the vivarium . The site will move up in capacity from micro gram to kg and above. And they are building new capabilities. There are projects for both API and large molecules.

The area that is exploding is biotech. Small molecules, biologicals yes, and it is biotech that is growing rapidly.

Mike Catt on the pairing of diagnostics and therapeutics:

His career started in vitro diagnostics. Blood glucose measurement is the largest linked diagnostics drug combination.  The biggest home tests are for glucose, and for pregnancy and fertility. But home testing lacks sensitivity and can’t at the moment get sufficient sensitivity for point of care diagnostics.

Sample sizes for sensitive tests are too high for home testing. Better tests are required to minimise the long term side effects of drugs.

Precision medicine is wider than simply diagnosis and prescribing the relevant drug.

We need to ensuring compliance to prescribed drug regimes.  How do we match life course monitoring of drug effect. Do people use blister packs properly. What about RFID tagging of drugs?  Both cheap monitoring and cheap diagnostics are essential

Aidan Walker spoke on Piramal’s work developing electronics to monitor compliance. Non-compliance is a major component of new drugs. Lack of understanding between GP and patient drives bad non-compliance costs and huge expense to any health system. The drug that has been developed has FRID. Patient has a patch on their arm. Drug transmits data via blood to patch and from there to GP. Life course monitoring of drug effect. Cheap monitoring and cheap diagnostics. With this the control of symptoms is spectacular. Piramal is single site for this development in the world.

Arun Harish of CPI

“CPI has submitted an Expression of Interest to the NE LEP (on the 8th March) for a Local Growth Fund opportunity, emphasising the need to further engage with the First for Pharma members to develop the proposition. This proposal will be complementary to the main activity proposed by the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) and includes a few possible ideas for pharma innovation in the Northeast including (but not limited to):

  1. Intelligent and smart packaging for medicines and medical devices (distribution monitoring, traceability, authentication, patient compliance etc.). This will build on CPI’s work on AMSCI funded project REMEDIES, and capabilities in biologics, printable electronics, formulations and healthcare photonics.
  2. Physical, chemical and biological sensing capabilities enabled by emerging technologies (flexible electronics, photonics, new materials like Graphene, biotechnology, digital, etc.) for use during medicines manufacturing and distribution to monitor quality and processes used.
  3. Novel formulations of medicines (linkages with CPI National Formulation centre and National Biologics Manufacturing Centre).
  4. Industrial biotechnological routes to Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) manufacture (links to National Industrial Biotech and Biologics facilities at CPI).

CPI now seeks engagement with the FfP members to explore how these themes align with their innovation strategies and discuss next steps. 

We expect to hear about the outcome of our Expression of Interest from the NELEP around June 16, and if successful, we will be required to submit a business case for Dec 2016 deadline”.

The Newburn site which had been owned by Shire has been bought by Wasdell, the biggest contract packer in Europe. IA the manufacturing site, they manufacture and pack Buccolam, the paediatric epilepsy drug.

Science Industry Partnership update. Cogent Skills are due to host Apprenticeship workshops soon; coming up in Teesside and at Newcastle University in July.

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