Co-chaired by Minister for Life Sciences George Freeman and Ian McCubbin, SVP North America, Japan & Global Pharma Supply, GlaxoSmithKline, the new taskforce will be working to identify opportunities and actions to anchor advanced therapy manufacturing and the associated supply chain in the UK and to identify any gaps in the manufacturing landscape that need to be tackled. The taskforce will complement the work of the Regenerative Medicine Expert Group (RMEG) that is developing an NHS regenerative medicine strategy so that the NHS is fully prepared to deliver these innovative treatments.
The UK is a world leader in the development of advanced therapies, with a strong research and academic infrastructure, wide-ranging support from medical charities, well equipped manufacturing base that includes the National Biologics Manufacturing Centre, and London is home to both the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
The UK's strong manufacturing base includes 18 MHRA-licenced facilities for cell and gene therapy manufacture. The UK Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult Manufacturing Centre, expected to open in 2017, will be used for the manufacture of late phase clinical trial and commercial supply of advanced therapies, complementing those early stage clinical phase manufacturing centres.
There is significant advanced therapy R&D activity in the UK and across Europe and the product pipeline is strong – indicated by the increasing volume of requests for scientific advice and classification from regulators, as well as the number of clinical trials being conducted.
Minister George Freeman said: "The manufacturing of advanced medicines, diagnostics and medical technology is an increasingly sophisticated activity: and the UK is home to some of the most exciting technologies and companies in this sector. By investing in 21st century medicines manufacturing, we are securing high quality jobs and businesses in the UK as well as improving patient outcomes around the world. I look forward to working with this industry-led taskforce to deliver a plan for advanced therapy manufacturing in the UK that will benefit patients and the economy."
The Medicines Manufacturing Industry Partnership (MMIP) represents the voice of medicines manufacturers in the UK. It was established jointly by Government and the biopharmaceutical industry in 2014 to ensure that the UK is recognised by the global medicines industry as a world-class, advanced centre for medicines manufacturing.
Ian McCubbin GSK and chair of the MMIP said: "This group brings together key figures from across the industry, academic institutions, trade bodies and government departments to take a comprehensive look at advanced therapy manufacturing in the UK to ensure that the UK is a world leading commercial scale manufacturer of the next generation of medicines for the patients who need them."
ABPI Executive Director for Research, Medical & Innovation, Dr Virginia Acha, said: "Since its inception, the MMIP has been working to ensure that the UK is recognised as a world-class centre for medicines manufacturing. The ATMP Taskforce is an exciting development in ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of manufacturing ground-breaking advanced therapies and it demonstrates the joint commitment from the pharmaceutical industry and Government to growing UK medicines manufacturing."
BIA Chief Executive, Steve Bates, said: "It's vital that the UK becomes not just a great laboratory for advanced therapies but a great place for them to be manufactured and commercialised. The MMIP taskforce will play a key role in ensuring that this leading sector of modern UK manufacturing continues to grow and produce these ground breaking therapies that will help to solve unmet patient needs both in the UK and its export markets."
The secretariat for the taskforce will be led by Mark Bustard Head of Medical Biotechnology at The Knowledge Transfer Network, who have facilitated bringing in relevant stakeholders.
Head of Medical Biotechnology at the KTN, Dr Mark Bustard, said: "Building on recent strategic investments in advanced therapies R&D and infrastructure funding, the UK has an significant opportunity to anchor and grow its manufacturing capability for these complex therapies as well. KTN will use its depth of technical knowledge and network in advanced therapies to support the taskforce initiative."
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About the ABPI
The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.