Medicines manufacturing round 2: challenge fund

Key Features

UK businesses can apply for a share of £10 million for innovation projects in medicines manufacturing.

Programme:     Innovate UK

Award:     Up to £6.3m

Opens: 12th Mar 2018

Closes: 9th May 2018

! This scheme is now closed

Up to £10 million available for innovation projects in medicine manufacturing focusing on specific technical or commercial challenges to be funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

This competition is aiming to encourage the development of innovative methods/technologies to improve the manufacture of novel medicine for human use.

Projects must show how they will improve the productivity, competitiveness and growth of at least one UK micro, small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) involved in the project.

Projects must be lead by a business and can either be carried out alone, or by a collaboration of businesses.

All projects must involve at least one SME, working alone or in collaboration with other organisations.

Projects can focus on technical feasibility, industrial research or experimental development.

For feasibility studies and industrial research projects, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 70% if you are an SME.

For experimental development projects which are nearer to market, you could get funding for your eligible project costs of:

  • up to 45% if you are an SME.


Your proposal can include, but are not limited to,  approaches that have the potential to deliver:

  • improved commercially viable manufacturing processes
  • methods for the relaible and robust scale-iup of production of novel medicines
  • increaded yield of active ingredient
  • lower cost of production and goods

The medicines that are in scope and can be used as an example are limited to:

  • advanced therapy medicinal products
  • natural product medicines
  • nucleic acid-based drugs
  • prophylactic vaccines
  • protein or peptide biopharmaceuticals
  • small molecular weight pharmaceuticals
  • virus and phage therapeutics

Your proposal must demonstrate:

  • the current challenge and value proposition
  • a clear understanding of the market potential, routes to market and commercialisation strategies

Specific themes

Innovate UK are looking for, but not limited to, applications that address:

  • in-process monitoring, control and release testing
  • maintaining product-critical quality parameters such as purity, potency and viability
  • formulation processes
  • packaging and storage processes
  • product characterisation
  • process challenges for increasing the scale of production
  • process development and effective site-to-site transfer for novel medicines
  • transfer of technology from small-scale manufacturing to a good manufacturing practice (GMP) manufacturing facility
  • lowering of the cost of goods
  • increase in yield of active ingredient
  • increase in speed of production cycle
  • methods to increase the flexibility of established manufacturing facilities
  • adaptation of processes from batch to continuous production


To be eligible for funding you must:

  • be a UK-based business, academic organisation, charity, public sector organisation or research and technology organisation (RTO)
  • carry out your project work in the UK
  • intend to exploit the results from the UK

Project size

Projects should be between £50,000 and £1.5 million.


A total of £10 million is available in this competition.

Up to £1 million is available for projects with eligible costs up to £100,000; and up to £9 million is available for projects with eligible costs of up to £1.5 million.