CPI will build a wet granulation manufacturing facility in NETPark, Durham, UK. Image courtesy of Centre for Process Innovation Limited.
The new facility will be a part of the company’s PROSPECT CP project. Image courtesy of Centre for Process Innovation Limited.
The facility will be equipped with process analytical technologies for open innovation. Image courtesy of Centre for Process Innovation Limited.

In April 2019, Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) announced plans to develop a wet granulation manufacturing facility in Durham, UK.

The company is building the facility in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca.

The plant will enable small-scale production of solid-dose pharmaceuticals for oral applications. It will be used to study the challenges of mixing powders and granulation to form solid products.

The facility is a part of CPI’s PROSPECT CP project, which was launched to investigate combinations of complex liquid formulations. CPI’s research activities are funded by the Innovate UK grant, which supports design activities that facilitate advanced manufacturing technologies.

CPI wet granulation manufacturing facility location

CPI’s wet granulation manufacturing facility will be built in North East Technology Park (NETPark) in Sedgefield, Durham County, UK.

NETPark features a wide range of laboratories, cleanrooms, and office accommodation facilities for science and engineering companies.

CPI wet granulation manufacturing facility details

The facility will be an open innovation plant powered by process analytical technologies (PAT). This custom-built facility will feature raw materials blending and feeding, twin screw wet granulation, drying and tableting facilities, as well as continuous manufacturing technologies.

The building will be equipped with analytical sensors integrated with PAT for measuring product characteristics in real time. Data generated from the analytical sensors will be used to develop models for predicting the attributes of finished products.

“The building will be equipped with analytical sensors integrated with PAT for measuring product characteristics in real time.”

A plant prototype was developed to simulate the integration of these sensors and controls with the manufacturing equipment.

The facility will be able to handle a wide range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), develop robust processes and reduce development timelines, as well as monitor and control product quality in real-time.

Technology utilised

Granulation used to manufacture tablets in the pharmaceutical industry. Ffine powders are granulated before tableting to improve flow and reduce dusting and segregation. The technique also improves content uniformity in finished products and removes other production setbacks.

Wet granulation combines small primary particles through agitation and liquid binding. It is used in formulated products such as pharmaceuticals to improve the properties of fine cohesive powders.

CPI is working on combining wet granulation with data-enhanced predictive modelling (DEM) to enhance the understanding and monitoring of finished products. Its efforts are expected to either lower or abolish the need for labour-intensive product testing after manufacturing, reducing the time taken to release a drug to the market.

Contractors involved

GEA Group, Perceptive Engineering, Siemens, Innopharma Labs and Kaiser Optical Systems are the suppliers involved in the development of the facility.

Marketing commentary on CPI

CPI is a technology innovation centre based in the UK. The company is a part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult group of manufacturing research centres.

The company integrates science and engineering expertise with state-of-the-art facilities to develop prototypes, scale-up and manufacture advanced products and processes for clients.

CPI owns the National Formulation Centre in NETPark, which is used to customise manufacturing processes for formulated products in diverse markets, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, food and drink.