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Over one third of drugs under development by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are biopharmaceuticals. Licensed biopharmaceutical numbers are forecast to grow at a rate of 20% per year.
However, 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.
To address the research challenges BBSRC, EPSRC, bioProcessUK (originally a TSB-funded Knowledge Transfer Network, and now part of the HealthTech & Medicines Knowledge Transfer Network) and industry launched the club, with the aim of strengthening the UK research base in this area and improving academic and academic-industrial links.
In 2009 an interim evaluation of the first phase of BRIC was published, alongside a report from a working group on the next phase of BRIC. Both reports concluded that BRIC1 had been a great success, and recommended continuation into a second phase of BRIC, and the working group report in particular started to map the areas for future research into bioprocessing.
A BRIC future plans workshop held in December 2009 took this forward, brainstorming and prioritising research ideas for BRIC2. These ideas have been further developed into 5 priority areas which set the focus for BRIC2.
- Bioprocessing research challenges for protein products and their host cell producers
- High-throughput bioprocess development
- Effective modelling of whole bioprocesses
- Robust and effective analytics for bioprocessing
- Bioprocessing research for cellular products
Members (as of 29 June 2012)
- Avacta plc
- Cobra Biologics
- Eden Biodesign
- Ipsen Ltd
- Lonza plc
- Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
- Pall Corporation
- Stem Cell Sciences UK Ltd
- UCB Celltech
Steering Group and management
The Steering Group establishes the nature of research to be funded and assesses applications before making funding recommendations to the Research Councils.
This Steering Group has recently been refreshed. The new membership is given below.
Members (from January 2012)
Dr Brendan Fish - GlaxoSmithKline (Chair)
Dr Richard Alldread - Lonza
Dr Paul Bello - Stem Cell Sciences
Dr Crawford Brown - Eden Biodesign
Dr Mark Carver - Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies
Dr Ray Field - MedImmune
Mr Tony Hitchcock - Cobra Biologics
Dr Peter Levison - Pall Life Sciences
Professor Catherine Biggs - University of Sheffield
Professor Alan Dickson - University of Manchester
Professor Chris Hewitt - University of Loughborough
Professor Jürgen Hubbuch - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Professor Jeremy Lakey - Newcastle University
Professor Nigel Slater - University of Cambridge
Management is supported by the HealthTech & Medicines KTN, which provides a link to the industry community.
A BRIC programme manager:
- Works with the academic community in the development of project applications
- Monitors progress of funded projects
- Facilitates networking between the funded research groups and industry
Dr Mark Bustard, Head of Biopharmaceuticals and Bioprocessing, HealthTech and Medicines KTN
mob: 07920 202649
Professor Andy Lyddiatt, BRIC Programme Manager
tel: 01207 583615
Andrew Staphnill, Business Interface Manager
tel: 01793 444287
fax: 01793 414674