Arcinova invests in new technology to increase production rates at Alnwick factory
An Alnwick pharmaceuticals firm has invested in new technology which has delivered a five-fold increase in manufacturing production rates.
Arcinova has recently commissioned the R1000 Robotic Capsule Filler from life-sciences automation company 3P innovation, as part of the £2million Fill-Inova project.
The R1000 includes 3P’s Fill2Weight micro-dosing technology, which directly supports the optimisation of drug substance through direct filling into capsules.
The result is a significantly faster route through clinical trials and lower overall costs.
Arcinova’s previous manufacturing method for patient specific drug products involved a non-automated procedure with a production rate limited to 200 units per hour.
The installation and commissioning of the new robotic machine increases production to 1000 units per hour, while maintaining the same level of operator labour.
Stephen Byard, head of drug product at Arcinova, said, “Through continued investment in people and the most advanced instrumentation, Arcinova have reliably expanded service lines to satisfy the increased demands of progressing new medicines through to the clinic faster, and without compromising quality.
"Installation of the R1000 capsule filling technology, provided by 3P Innovation, will help us to manufacture increased numbers of product units in reduced time, with higher accuracy and also accommodating powders that are difficult to handle using conventional systems.
"By combining our well-established expertise in drug substance manufacture and solid form optimisation with the advantages offered by the R1000, we are now ideally placed to address the growing demand for pharmaceutical products in clinical trials, ranging from simple capsules to inhaler devices.”
The Fill-Inova Project is part of Arcinova’s multi-million pound investment in the Alnwick site which currently employs 164 staff.
The aim is to create a more responsive ‘economy-of-scope’ approach to producing complex medicines in smaller volumes.
By employing digital technologies with automation and machine learning, Arcinova is able to produce on-demand, specific therapies for small patient populations.
Gareth Jenkins, chief scientific officer at Arcinova, explained: “Our vision is to improve patient care through transformational technology and we are very excited to see our digital medicines manufacturing platform become operational.
"By adopting robotics and digital automation, we can now rapidly and cost-effectively offer a more responsive production of new and highly complex medicines. This brings the vision of just-in-time clinical supply one step closer.”