Key elements: Funding for new virtual lab + Multi-institution collaboration

We are excited to collaborate with leading UK institutions on enabling innovation in medicines manufacturing. Building on Lilly’s extensive heritage of partnerships across industry and academia, we are committed to collaborations that ultimately support better delivery of medicines to patients."

Dr. Salvador García Muñoz

Senior Engineer Advisor, Small Molecule Design and Development - Lilly

Eli Lilly has committed £5 million to fund research into the more efficient manufacture of medicines, which could ultimately result in better and cheaper treatments for patients.

The money is being used to fund a virtual lab, led by Imperial and supported by UCL, to apply Process Systems Engineering (PSE) methods to the pharmaceutical industry.  PSE uses computer assisted methods and models to design, control and optimise processes.  The approach has previously been used in the petrochemical, chemicals, and consumer goods industries.

The Pharmaceutical Systems Engineering Lab (PharmaSEL) falls under the remit of Imperial and UCL's Centre for Process Systems Engineering (CPSE).

New methods

Applying PSE methods to the pharmaceutical industry has the potential to increase efficiency, decrease wastage and resolve quality control issues across the manufacturing process.  PharmaSEL will seek to catalyse the creation of such methods and will accelerate their adoption in the industry.

Over an initial period of six years, researchers are focusing on three main themes: building more predictive models; designing more effective experiments; and improving the design of pharmaceutical manufacturing systems.

The first phase of work focuses on developing virtual models that better anticipate the outcomes of physical experiments.  By improving foresight in the modelling of basic pharmaceutical compounds, researchers will be able to reduce the time to market, as well as the wuality and effectiveness of drugs.

Multidisciplinary collaboration 

PharmaSEL is an example of how research can reach beyond the boundaries of academia and offer key advantages to business and the wider public. "

Professor Nick Jennings

Vice-Provost (Research and Enterprise) - Imperial

The new lab's work builds on a project funded by Lilly in 2015 and led by Professor Claire Adjiman, Director of CPSE and Imperial's Institute for Molecular Sciences and Engineering (IMSE).

This early research used computer-aided design to prove that the ability to predict solubility of molecules is directly relevant to successful drug development, setting the groundwork for future investigations.

Professor Adjiman said: "The application of research to practice is core to CPSE's ethos.  This collaboration is an exciting opportunity to translate fundamental research breakthroughs into methods that can be used time and time again by the pharmaceutical industry to develop improved medicines and manufacturing processes."

This is a summary of an Imperial news article.  You can read the full story here.

For more information or to discuss partnering with Imperial please contact Dr Rebeca Santamaria-Fernandez, Head of Corporate Partnerships for the Faculty of Engineering

Eli Lilly