Medicines Manufacturing

Innovate UK’s Medicines Manufacturing programmes aim to drive the de-risking and adoption of highly innovative flexible, agile and scalable manufacturing technologies through a culture of collaboration that will drive the growth of this critically important manufacturing sector.

Supporting the UK to be recognised by the global medicines industry as a world-class advanced centre for medicines manufacturing.

The Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Fund was established in 2017 to support and grow the UK’s capabilities in manufacturing medicines. £360 million has been invested in developing first-of-a-kind technologies to manufacture medicines and accelerate patient access to new drugs and treatments, firmly establishing the UK as a leading global hub for the development, production and delivery of cutting-edge therapies.

Programme objectives

  • Investing in global Britain
  • Strengthening UK infrastructure
  • Building skills

Since 2017, the Medicines Manufacturing Challenge has played its part in growing the UK’s medicines manufacturing sector into an industrial powerhouse that will bring economic and health benefits to future generations. By building on this strong foundation, we can make the UK a central player in an expanding, multi-billion-pound global industry.

The UK has a unique medicines manufacturing ecosystem that fosters innovation and collaboration between academia, industry and Government. Our infrastructure investments put development and manufacturing side by side, creating a setting where researchers can generate great new ideas and businesses can upscale them for financial success and patient benefit.

The key to the UK’s future as a global medicines manufacturing hub is its people. The Medicines Manufacturing Challenge has laid the groundwork for building this highly skilled workforce, but we need to continue to nurture the pipeline for the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians to maintain a thriving industry.

Creating value & underpinning resilience

This report highlights the significant impact made through the UKRI Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Fund investment and collaboration into UK medicines manufacturing.

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Robotics and automation within the medicines manufacturing community

Robotics and automation within the medicines manufacturing community

This report summarises the findings of a virtual workshop held on February 1st 2022 to identify key innovation gaps in the widespread adoption of robotics and automation within UK medicines development and manufacturing.

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Accelerated adoption of automation and digitalisation within medicines manufacturing

This report summarises the findings of a workshop held at AMRC North West on March 20th 2022 to identify priority opportunities for digital and automation technologies in pharmaceutical process development, barriers to uptake, and to explore learning from other sectors.

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Accelerated adoption of automation and digitalisation within medicines manufacturing

Hear from a member of the team

As we wrap up the UKRI Medicine Medicines Manufacturing Challenge, learn how Innovate UK will be supporting future Medicines Manufacturing activities. Watch the video, below, for more information on competitions planned for 2022/2023. We are also excited to be planning a series of Communities of Practice which will run alongside each competition which aim to bring together stakeholders within a cohesive environment of shared learning and collaboration, to drive forwards innovation and enterprise

Upcoming Medicines Manufacturing competitions

Stimulating the development and implementation of innovative digital and automated data collection technologies to increase the speed and resource efficiency of pharma processes
Innovative technologies for nucleic acid based medicines manufacturing

OPENING 7th NOVEMBER

Innovative technologies for nucleic acid based medicines manufacturing

Improving the resource efficiency, productivity and scalability of nucleic acid drug substance manufacturing.

Find out more and apply
Digitalisation and automation of medicines development and manufacturing

OPENING 7th NOVEMBER

Digitalisation and automation of medicines development and manufacturing

Stimulating the development and implementation of innovative digital and automated data collection technologies to increase the speed and resource efficiency of pharmaceutical process development and the productivity of pharma manufacturing.

Find out more and apply
Innovative technologies for intracellular drug delivery

OPENING FEBRUARY 2023

Innovative technologies for intracellular drug delivery

Improving the range and availability of formulations enabling more efficient, targeted delivery of drug payloads to cells, reducing the amount of raw material required to derive a single therapeutic dose.


Programmes related to Medicines Manufacturing

Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community

Medicines Manufacturing Challenge Community

A now-completed programme that supported manufacturers of medicines in order to grow the UK economy – replaced by the Medicines Manufacturing programme.

Related Opportunities

Digitalisation and Automation of Medicines R&D and Manufacture

Opens: 07/11/2022 Closes: 21/12/2022

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million. This is to support digitalised and automated technology innovation and implementation for pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

More Information

Innovative technologies for nucleic acid medicines manufacturing

Opens: 07/11/2022 Closes: 21/12/2022

UK registered organisations can apply for a share of up to £5 million for manufacturing innovation for nucleic acid medicines.

More Information

SSPP Future Plastic Packaging Solutions Round 2

Opens: 12/09/2022 Closes: 09/11/2022

UK registered businesses and organisations can apply for a share of up to £2.5 million for early-stage and mid-stage projects in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.

More Information
Owen Burbidge

Our Expert

Owen Burbidge

Read full profile

Next steps

We will keep this page up to date with the latest information on Innovate UK’s medicines manufacturing competitions. In the meantime please contact our team if you would like further information on the forthcoming competitions, or to express your interest in getting involved in the Communities of Practice.

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