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Prof. Vivek Ranade shares EPSRC-SFi grant for a personalised medicine project
May 17, 2022

Prof. Vivek Ranade (VR), Bernal Institute and SSPC Manufacturing investigator received funding for an EPSRC-SFI joint project on Table Top Manufacturing of Tailored Nanosilica for Personalised Medicine [SiPM]. A collaboration with Prof. Siddharth V. Patwardhan (SP) and Dr. Solomon Brown, Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Sheffield.

The project which has received a grant in a new round of funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will run for three years, working with project partners Asynt, Glantreo Ltd., Queen’s University of Belfast, Seda Pharmaceutical Development Services, Texas A and M University, TIGERSi Technologies Ltd. and University of Nottingham.

Personalised medicine (PM) is gaining significant attention in recent years as it has the potential to transform healthcare across the globe by moving away from the “one-size-fits-all” model to utilise personal circumstances, medical history and needs to deliver individually suitable treatment. Current bulk manufacturing technologies are unable to meet most of these demands as they are slow in responding to changes, capital intensive, use unsustainable methods and are not flexible to meet PM needs.

Given the future needs for PM, recent research efforts have been directed towards redefining the manufacturing of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and their formulations into e.g. tablets for oral dosages using advanced methods such as microfluidics, Hot Melt Extrusion or 3D printing. However, as a medicine is a carefully designed formulation of an API with non-active components such as excipients or drug delivery systems (DDS), challenges in manufacturing of the non-active components for PM are also equally important, but have not been addressed.

The project aims, for the first time, to develop the science for distributed table top on-demand manufacturing of drug delivery systems at scale needed for personalised medicine (PM) by combining controlled green synthesis with novel intensified reactors/devices.

Green synthesis developed during SP’s EPSRC Fellowship and earlier work on intensified reactors of VR will be used as a starting point, selecting ibuprofen (as a model drug) and doxorubicin (a well-studied anti-cancer drug) as the drugs and bioinspired silica (BIS) as the delivery system given its proven benefits. In particular, the aims are to:

  • Develop quantitative data/ knowledge for green synthesis of bioinspired silica particles and ensure quality by design
  • Establish relationship between reactor design and operating process parameters with critical quality attributes of bioinspired silica particles.
  • Realise and demonstrate a compact and modular ‘factory in a box’ for synthesising desired silica particles with desired quality attributes

The work will contribute to revolutionising PM and help deliver table top pharmaceutical manufacturing equipment in hospitals and pharmacies. Ultimately, the impact will include significant improvements in treatments and quality of life as well as the formation of new companies to build such units.

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