Imperial College London

Imperial startup to revolutionise medicines manufacturing

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Startup company Exactmer to collaborate with AstraZeneca, Novartis, CPI and UK Research and Innovation on pioneering medicines manufacturing process.

CPI has launched a new collaboration at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre to develop a scalable, sustainable and more cost-effective medicines manufacturing process for oligonucleotides, short single strands of synthetic DNA or RNA.

Oligonucleotide medicines work by interfering with how genes are expressed to limit the production of detrimental proteins and have shown success in the treatment of rare diseases. This next-generation therapeutic class is now being explored to treat chronic diseases that affect much larger patient populations. Their utility however is currently limited by inefficiencies inherent in the existing manufacturing process, resulting in low productivity and unfeasibly high costs.

"The team at Exactmer are hugely excited to be in this collaboration, tasked with creating new ways to manufacture oligo drugs." Professor Andrew Livingtson Exactmer

Imperial startup Exactmer will lead the initial phase of the project, focusing on scale-up strategies and developing a proof-of-concept programme. Specialists in polymer membranes, Exactmer will utilise their Nanostar Sieving technology to enhance the efficiency and yield of the manufacturing process in liquid phase, and reduce the consumption of critical raw materials, enhancing the potential for large-scale manufacturing of oligonucleotides.

Professor Andrew Livingston, CEO at Exactmer and former Head of Department for Chemical Engineering, said: “The team at Exactmer are hugely excited to be in this collaboration, tasked with creating new ways to manufacture oligo drugs. Developing new approaches, led by CPI and working alongside Novartis and AstraZeneca, we are driven to make these novel medicines available to large patient populations through deploying advanced technologies.”

The collaboration is one of a series of ‘Grand Challenges’ being explored in the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre and will include AstraZeneca, Exactmer, Novartis, CPI and UK Research & Innovation.

Dave Tudor, Managing Director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, said: “This project is aptly named a ‘Grand Challenge’; not only is it a big project in terms of the challenges associated with developing it, but also as a result of its enormous potential impact on the healthcare sector. We are excited to be leading this project. The establishment of an improved large-scale oligonucleotide manufacturing method will help people for years to come.”

Further details of the project can be found on the CPI website. This article is based on the press release issued today by CPI.

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If you would like to know more about Imperial’s technologies and startup companies, or you are a researcher who would like to learn more about commercialising research, you can find out more by contacting the Enterprise Division.

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Sara West

Sara West
Department of Chemical Engineering

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Email: sara.west@imperial.ac.uk

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