CME to support just-in-time clinical trial supply

CME will support the delivery of automated just-in-time clinical supply, as one of the collaborators in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre Grand Challenge 2.

Assorted pharmaceutical pills, tablets and capsules spilling from a tipped over white bottle on a blue background

CME has joined the UK’s Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) Grand Challenge 2, an industry collaboration working to delivery automated just-in-time clinical supply. MMIC is a collaboration between industry, government and academia to develop, prove and commercialise disruptive digital manufacturing technologies for the pharmaceutical industry, led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI).

According to MMIC, the current clinical trials process operate on a just-in-case approach that often leads to drug overproduction due to the difficulty in accurately predicting patient demand. By transitioning to the just-in-time approach, clinical trials would create an agile and responsive supply chain able to respond to real demand.

Under the collaboration CME, a provider of automation solutions and services to the pharmaceutical sector, will lend its automation and machine building expertise to create an automated clinical trial packing and qualified persons (QP) release platform. CME will support Grand Challenge 2 in its goals to facilitate innovation through automated technology, integrated automation, modular design, and digitisation of the Pharmacy Automation for Clinical Efficiency (PACE) platform.

The PACE platform is a digitally enabled automated bottle packaging line that can fill tablets and capsules with custom amounts of drug compounds. One key innovation is the modular system design, allowing multiple drugs to be manufactured and packaged in the same facility without cross-contamination.

The design of the digital automation on the platform will enable quality teams, specifically those in the QP role, to monitor and release batches in real-time, resulting in less waste and reduced costs.

The project, which began in April 2019, is already progressing well and the packaging line, which has been built at CME’s facility in Somerset, is currently going through factory acceptance testing. 

John Arthur, Director of MMIC, commented: ​“CME’s expertise and capability in this field are a huge asset to this exciting, collaborative project and we are delighted they have joined us. Delivering innovation in PACE to reduce waste, risk and cost is a key objective for the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and our partners, and we are looking forward to the line being completed later this year.” 

Paul Knight, Chief Executive Officer of CME, added: ​“In just three years, the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre has had a significant impact on the pharmaceutical industry. CME is delighted to come on board as the custom automation partner of the centre to provide design consultancy on custom robotics and automation.”