Key elements: Interdisciplinary research

Exploiting engineering-led solutions in medicine

The Engineered Medicines Laboratory (EML) was a unique collaboration between the global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Imperial College London that aimed to develop transformative advances in the discovery, development and manufacturing of future medicines. The lab harnessed the healing mechanisms in our body to deliver new targeted therapies.

The objective of the EML was to define, and reduce to practice, experiments that can use an engineering thought process to better understand biological matters. With this in mind, the scientific teams involved were at their heart cross-disciplinary, bringing together engineers, material scientists, physiologists, physicists, pharmacologists and clinicians to design rationally engineered solutions to critical medical problems.

The EML drew on the expertise of researchers from Imperial’s Faculties of Engineering and Medicine and GSK’s Advanced Manufacturing Team. The projects themselves were co-headed by a GSK scientist and an Imperial Project Investigator.

Delivering better therapies with cell power

The collaboration commenced with a three-year start-up phase in the mid-2010s that saw researchers initially focussing on three major projects. They are:

  • Project 1: Defined Sequence Polymers, which focuses on discovering and developing new polymers as therapeutic agents whilst also creating novel manufacturing routes for their production
  • Project 2: Exosomes and EVs as nanoengineered medicines, which aims to produce effective cell-driven nanomedicines for use as therapeutic carriers
  • Project 3: Ionic liquids and eutectic solvents, which is attempting to harness the potential of ionic liquids and deep eutectic solvents for use as Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients to provide more effective drug discovery

The laboratory’s projects mark the first convergence of a medical faculty in the UK with engineering-led solutions. For GSK the partnership represents the potential to catalyse transformational advances in the discovery, development and manufacture of future medicines. For Imperial, it represents yet another opportunity to deliver the cutting-edge research of the institute to an ever-larger section of society.

In-depth information about the partnerships and project is available by contacting our team directly.

You can read the full news article here.