Life Sciences

The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre Collaborates with Applied Materials to Enhance Just In Time Clinical Supply

CPI and the founding partners of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre have today announced that they will collaborate with Applied Materials, Inc. to provide planning and scheduling technology. This collaboration brings Applied Materials’ leadership in manufacturing automation software and paves the way for the integration of the company’s SmartFactory Rx® automation software into the Medicine Manufacturing Innovation Centre’s Just In Time clinical supply platform. Once integrated, the software will enable the Centre’s platform to allow quicker and more efficient production and distribution of medicines to clinical trial sites, a key aspect of a more streamlined pharmaceutical supply chain.

The cost of drug development is increasing rapidly and a cross-sector consortium at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre including CPI, the University of Strathclyde, GSK and AstraZeneca, Scottish Enterprise and UK Research & Innovation, aims to reduce these costs by minimising material lead times, minimum order quantities and increasing supply chain efficiency. As part of the Centre’s Grand Challenge 2 project, the consortium is constructing an automated platform called Pharmacy Automation for Clinical Efficiency (PACE). The platform will package multiple drug substances on a single, digitally-enhanced packaging line just in time.

The PACE platform is a complex set of interdependent automated functions, which means planning and scheduling of clinical trial supply is a challenging and labour-intensive task that requires full understanding of the entire process. Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software suite combines optimisation solvers, heuristic rule techniques and Applied Materials’ unique Sense & Respond technology to create adaptive, optimum plans and schedules automatically. The software will update its plans and schedules as new data arises, which will reduce the need for human intervention in the process and enhance the PACE platform’s offering of Just In Time clinical supply.

SmartFactory Rx® planning and scheduling technology is in use in over 300 plants worldwide within the semiconductor and display industries, and most recently, in pharmaceutical manufacturing. Using SmartFactory Rx® software is a proven way for manufacturers to dramatically increase efficiency, throughput and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE).

The consortium at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre recently announced the completion of the PACE platform’s design. The inclusion of Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software will add additional value to pharmaceutical companies and patients, enabling more efficient planning and performance tracking that will reduce waste.

The consortium continues to seek new partners from across the industry that can contribute to maximising the impact of the innovative PACE platform.

Amos Dor, General Manager of Pharma Solutions at Applied Materials, said: “We are delighted to be a part of this important collaboration to deliver Just In Time clinical supply for the pharmaceutical sector. Applied Materials’ SmartFactory Rx® software will greatly improve planning and scheduling within the PACE platform, accelerating the timelines of clinical studies while eliminating waste.”

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: “This is a fantastic collaboration that will significantly enhance the PACE platform under construction at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The addition of Applied Materials into the consortium highlights the many different areas of expertise that will be needed for delivering the pharmaceutical supply chain of the future.”