BRIC Club formation rationale
Biological products are large and complex molecules that require sophisticated manufacturing methods. The development phase is slow, expensive and complicated and, since speed to market is vital, there is a need for new tools and methods which will contribute to accelerating development.
In 2003 the Bioscience Innovation and Growth Team (BIGT) report highlighted these issues and recommended increased investment in bioprocessing research. In response we established a working group that identified key areas and important scientific challenges for further bioprocessing research activity.
In order to address these challenges, the Bioprocessing Research Industry Club (BRIC) was established by BBSRC, EPSRC and industry following the identification of the key industrially relevant bioprocessing research.
The Club supports:
- innovative bioprocessing-related research projects to help strengthen and develop the bioprocessing research community
- improve academic-industry links
Management support for BRIC is provided by the HealthTech & Medicines KTN, enabling a mechanism for the dissemination of research outputs and networking with industrial Club members.
The club operates by establishing a partnership between the Research Councils and a consortium of companies to support academic research.
- BRIC 1: Invested 25 research projects at 19 institutions totalling £13.2M
- BRIC 2: Invested 23 research projects, 13 institutions totalling £10.6M
- Industrial members provide approximately 10% of funding through membership subscriptions.
- BBSRC and EPSRC provide approximately 90% of funding with contributions with targeted support research proposals that fall within their remit.
Business drivers for BRIC
- Expanding UK position in the global market for biological medicines
- Support of relevant UK companies developing biological medicines and the underpinning supply chain
- Growth of a vibrant and skilled bioprocess community
- Added value through decreased time, cost and risk of product/process development
- Reduced investment cost and risk by invention of intensive, modular and predictable process characterised by QbD
- Enhanced regulatory confidence through improved process and product integrity/reproducibility
Expected BRIC outcomes
- BRIC output demonstrably greater than sum of the parts
- Advancement of working partnership between UK industry and academia
- Transfer of knowledge, technology and people
- Increased output of trained personnel (researchers and supervisors) with improved understanding of industrial needs
- Self-sustaining and 'given' interaction between university research and the bioprocess industries
- Greater systems-based understanding of biology for improved bioprocessing;
- Increased predictability of biological processes for bioprocessing, including improved scale-up and reproducibility;
- Improved cost efficiency - both in manufacturing and development;
- Increased flexibility to improve product characteristics and reduce product heterogeneity
- Increased speed to clinic and market
- New tools and methodologies for bioprocessing