Bringing together 23 partners and concentrating on the entire end to end medicines supply chain rather than sections of it was ambitious and, at times, daunting.
Over time, it became clear that there were some big challenges around adopting new technologies and convincing people of the case for change. As yet, we do not have a fully developed means of predicting the impact on a supply chain of a new technology. That work has been advanced significantly by the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge and I’m sure will bear fruit to help companies understand how innovation will impact not just at the unit operation level, but at the supply chain level. Quantifying the potential benefit that a new technology can have will be enormously helpful for the transition from research and development into manufacturing, bringing the reduction in stock that we have been looking for. I think we have gone some way towards achieving that in the clinical work stream. The work that has been done on a Just-In-Time automated pharmacy offers the promise of significantly reducing cost, stock and cycle times, potentially cutting five months off the time it currently takes to initiate a Phase 1 clinical trial, and potentially saving £10 million per company on supplies costs.
One area that was far less challenging than expected was working with the regulators. I firmly believe that the regulators are fully behind what we are trying to do to improve the productivity and the efficiency of the medicines manufacturing. They want to be engaged and they want to help that process. We have been remarkably successful working with the MHRA Innovations Group. Our regular meetings with them were beneficial, I believe, to both parties and those meetings will continue under the MMIP in the future.
I think we made a lot of progress in the ReMediES project in achieving our central aims of creating a more agile, Right-First-Time supply chain. We look forward to seeing the work of ReMediES being taken forward, both by individual teams and collaborations under the wing of the new Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund Wave 3.