A new £56 million centre hopes to revolutionise how medicines are made in the global pharmaceutials industry.
The Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre (MMIC) in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, will support 80 new jobs and offer pharma companies a service to develop and adopt new techniques into their own manufacturing processes.
It hopes to cut the time it can take for new drugs to reach the market.
The MMIC project is being supported with £15 million from Scottish Enterprise, £13 million through UK Research and Innovation, and £7 million each from pharmaceutical firms GSK and AstraZeneca.
But the decision angered the leader of North Ayrshire Council Joe Cullinane who criticised the process that saw Irvine rejected as host in favour of Inchinnan.
It comes just months after Irvine was overlooked by the Scottish Government when they chose Dundee and Glasgow as bases for a new Social Security Agency.
These are expected to create around 750 jobs at each location.
Cllr Cullinane told the Daily Record: “We are all extremely frustrated with this decision.
“We have been working for over three years to secure this investment and, with our Urban Regeneration Company, had invested £10m in site infrastructure to make it ready for new investment such as MMIC and other manufacturing and life science companies that would want to locate next to and access MMIC facilities.
“Our proposal is very strong. Furthermore, our site was created as a special Life Sciences Area, recognised by the Scottish and UK Governments for the purpose of creating a vibrant life sciences hub in Irvine.
“With the support of large multi-national businesses, already located there, this would have allowed the MMIC to get up and running immediately. We have a strong, dynamic, skilled workforce already in place, with the infrastructure to complement that.
Welcoming the Inchinnan decision Business Minister Paul Wheelhouse said: “I am delighted that the MMIC will be located in Scotland, given its potential to become a global centre of excellence and bringing significant benefits to Scotland’s economy.
“As well as helping to attract further manufacturing investment to Scotland, the centre will also be well placed to support new business start-ups and spin-outs and enable established life and chemical science companies to profit from innovation.”
The centre will be positioned next to the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland and aims to attract more than £80 million in research and development investment by 2028.
UK Government Minister Lord Duncan said: “We need more new medicines to tackle deadly diseases more quickly, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we want to see more of this world-leading research and manufacture done here in the UK, bringing highly skilled jobs and greater prosperity with it.
“The UK Government has provided significant backing to this project, with UK Research and Innovation investing £13 million through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.”
Linda Hanna, managing director at Scottish Enterprise, said: “There is no other facility like this in the world and it is a fantastic endorsement of Scotland as an ideal place to invest in global excellence in high-value manufacturing, drawing on our skills, innovative companies and academic expertise.
“Industry leadership and co-investment has been central to shaping this centre and will remain at the heart of what makes it a success, providing a platform for companies right across the UK to collaborate, innovate and develop world-leading medicine manufacturing processes and technologies.”