• May 20, 2024

BAT Inaugurates Innovation Center

 BAT Inaugurates Innovation Center
Photo: BAT

Included in British American Tobacco’s new innovation center at Southampton, U.K., is a nicotine-pouch pilot plant that allows its researchers to go from concept to trial product in an hour. The investment in the pilot plant is presumably an indication of the confidence the company has in nicotine pouches, which sit comfortably alongside nicotine replacement therapy products on the continuum of risk and that are perhaps the most environment friendly of all the lower-risk products being used to assist smokers move away from cigarettes.

Officially opened on March 7 in the presence of BAT’s entire management board, the new center is housed within BAT’s research and development facility, which has been in operation since 1956 on a site occupied by the company for more than 100 years.

In a press note, BAT said the £30 million ($38.56 million) investment would support its mission to become a predominantly smokeless business in which 50 percent of its revenue was derived from non-combustibles by 2035.

The center provides nine specially designed technical spaces to aid the development of BAT’s portfolio of new category products. “These spaces are dedicated to research for modern oral nicotine pouches, for liquids and flavor for vapor products, for heated tobacco products, and for well-being and stimulation beyond nicotine,” the press note said. “The investment will also support work on packaging, engineering, innovation development and system integration…

“The new facilities will bring together cross-functional and key R&D teams—with 400 highly specialized scientists and engineers, drawn from a range of fields including biotechnology and clinical trials. These teams will accelerate the development of the next generation of BAT’s new category products and provide the robust evidence necessary to encourage adult smokers to switch to less risky alternatives, backed by science.’

James Murphy, director, research and science at BAT, said, “The opening of this new facility marks an important milestone in BAT’s transformation and will play a key role in making a smokeless future a reality.”

Meanwhile, BAT said it had more than 1,600 specialists spread across the U.K., the U.S., Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and China. “The £30 million investment in the Southampton facility follows the opening of BAT’s innovation centers in Trieste, Italy, in 2021 and in Shenzhen, China, in 2022, and an investment of £300 million a year in R&D to develop new category products and establish substantiation of their reduced risk potential,” the company said.