The PharmaSEL-Prosperity Partnership on Transforming synthetic drug manufacturing: novel processes, methods and tools is a multi-million pound business-led research programme led by the global pharmaceuticals company Eli Lilly and Company and the Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE) at Imperial College London and University College London aimed at delivering novel systems based engineering design methods for the rapid development of manufacturing processes for advanced synthetic drugs. It is co-funded by Eli Lilly and Company and The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), as part of its flagship Prosperity Partnership Programme, with significant support from the partner institutions. The programme is also complemented by a Lilly/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Chair in Pharmaceutical Molecular Systems. The Partnership builds on long-term research collaborations between Eli Lilly and both Imperial College and UCL and is an extension of PharmaSEL (Pharmaceutical Systems Engineering Lab) which was set up in 2017 to apply novel process systems-based engineering design methods to the optimisation of drug manufacturing processes.
Our research motivation
While synthetic drugs make up the largest part of pharmaceutical companies' drug portfolios, with peptides representing an increasingly important class of drugs, the road from the discovery of a drug molecule to a commercial product that benefits patients remains frustratingly long and arduous, with the total cost of development reaching $2.6bn and 10 years per new chemical entity (NCE). This Partnership draws on expertise and advances in the manufacture of small molecules to enable radical progress in the synthetic manufacture of much larger peptide drugs, considering the entire chain from drug substance to drug product. Our research programme will deliver fundamental understanding, models, technologies and design methodologies in order to accelerate the synthesis, isolation, purification and formulation of synthetic drugs of varying sizes, from small molecules to peptides, and to push the boundary of feasibility in relation to peptide drugs. Over a period of five years PharmaSEL-Prosperity will bring together experts from industry and academia with specialist knowledge in process systems engineering, computer science and process technologies for drug substance synthesis and purification. They will work together to design, control and optimise medicine manufacturing processes that could ultimately result in better and cheaper treatments for patients.
Beyond its scientific achievements, the Prosperity Partnership will position the UK at the leading edge of expertise and innovation in the manufacturing of high-value synthetic drugs, contributing to the growth of a value-creating innovation ecosystem.