Universities and science minister, David Willetts, announced Darlington as the home for the new National Biologics Manufacturing Centre (NBMC) today.
The £38m national centre is part of the Government’s Strategy for Life Science which aims to help UK companies compete in a growing global pharmaceutical market.
Mr Willetts said he sees the national centre as an attractive feature to bring life science companies to the UK.
“The new National Biologics Manufacturing Centre will significantly increase the UK’s manufacturing capability in biologics, keeping us ahead in the global race and strenghtening the UK’s position as the location of choice for life science companies.”
Biological medicines account for between 10-15% of the pharamceutical market and outperforms the market as a whole with more than one-fifth of new medicines launched on the market deriving from biotechnology.
Biologics, or biopharmaceuticals, are medicines manufactured using biotechnology. Products are made using biological foundations and usually involve living organisms such as cells, bacteria, yeast or other tools to perform specific manufacturing processes.
Dr Chris Dowle, director of the NBMC, said:
“The new facility will support the development of new innovative process technologies and manufacturing routes. We will provide both large and small companieswith open access facilities to prove and scale up their process, therefore reducing risk associated with product development. We will build on the UK’s competencies in biopharmacueticals to position ourselves as world leading.”
Darlington was chosen as the home for the new centre because of its transport links, proximity to existing pharmaceutical companies and relevant universities in the north of England.
Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington City Council explained his delight at the choice.
“We are delighted Darlington has been chosen as the location of the new national centre. The location of the centre in North East England will attract further investment, talent and opportunities for the region to play a role in the development and commercialisation of pharmaceuticals into the global marketplace.”