Catapults and leading universities across the UK to establish brand new Intracellular Drug Delivery Centre

Intracellular Drug Delivery Centre

CPI is establishing a brand-new Intracellular Drug Delivery Centre in partnership with Medicines Discovery Catapult, the University of Liverpool, the University of Strathclyde, and Imperial College London to help develop novel drug delivery technologies and support promising RNA vaccines and therapeutics.

Funded by Innovate UK’s Transforming Medicines Manufacturing programme, with a grant of £10 million over 3 years, the Centre will provide a single point of entry for drug discovery and development innovators to access new capabilities in intracellular drug delivery.

The partnership is the first-of-its-kind in the UK and will investigate and develop new lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations for the delivery of RNA medicine, and a framework to develop next-generation nano delivery systems.

The Centre will help predict the stability, efficacy, performance and any potential adverse reactions of RNA vaccines and therapeutics. This will help unlock the potential of RNA-based medicines, creating greater access to cutting-edge, cost-effective vaccines and therapeutics for the benefit of patients.

Dr Juliana Haggerty, Head of Intracellular Drug Discovery Centre at CPI, said: “We’re excited to be leading this novel partnership, bringing together leading experts in intracellular drug delivery. This unique collaboration can provide the industry with unparalleled access to cutting-edge technologies to accelerate drug design, development, characterisation, and manufacture.

“The new Centre will make it easier for industry to access expertise in this important sector.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the enormous potential of nucleic acids – the building blocks of mRNA vaccines; but significant innovation is needed to develop new nucleic-acid-based therapies, understand how they work in the body, and improve manufacturing processes.

Industry needs novel drug delivery systems, such as LNPs, to support and complement RNA therapeutic developments. Current LNP systems are expensive to access, so identifying novel, cost-effective alternative delivery methods will promote access to nucleic-acid-based vaccines and therapeutics not just in the UK, but around the world.

This new Centre will provide industry with the much-needed infrastructure to address these challenges and will build on the outstanding expertise and know-how of all partners. This will also attract inward investment and promote resilience and sustainable growth in the UK healthcare ecosystem, meeting key Transforming Medicines Manufacturing programme objectives.

There will also be a strong emphasis on training and developing the future workforce through courses and network building for early-career researchers.

The funding will cover additional state-of-the-art equipment at CPI’s facilities in Sedgefield in the North East of England, along with complementary capability development for its partners.

Dr Neill Liptrott, from the University of Liverpool’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, said: “We are delighted to be a core partner in this innovative new Centre. Our research and expertise, in the immune compatibility of nanotherapeutics and complex medicines, and international infrastructures supporting stakeholders in this field, will support this ambitious infrastructure and we look forward to helping to realise the full potential of RNA-based therapeutics.”

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