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SSPC Impact Case Study: Biologics

SSPC Impact Case Study: Small Molecule

Scale-up Systems working with SSPC

Project Lead:

Prof. Harry Van den Akker, Dr Javad Zeinali, University of Limerick

Project Partner:

Scale-Up Systems

Areas of Impact:

Economic SME

Scientific Domains:

Advanced Manufacturing Process, Biologics / Drug Substance, Data Analytics, Small Molecule / Drug Substance

The purpose of the project:

To investigate the hydrodynamics of commonly used lab-scale reactor systems under typical operating conditions. Predictions of mixing using traditional chemical engineering relationships become more difficult as the scale of operation decreases below a few litres. This project completed a number of computational fluid dynamic simulations allowing more detailed process characterization and will enable users of the company’s Dynochem software to make more accurate predictions when scaling-up or down as part of pharmaceutical development and manufacturing.


The Van den Akker group brought expertise in CFD modelling and fluid mechanics and Scale-up Systems brought know-how of reactor vessels, including dimensions, suitable operating conditions and general behaviour as calculated using chemical engineering principles; prior knowledge of CFD and some input files for OpenFoam® software.


The output of this project has been the advancement of knowledge of small-scale chemical reactors in order to better understand mixing performance at these scales and to translate that to larger scale equipment.

This new level of understanding can potentially improve efficiencies in drug substance production within the pharmaceutical sector, especially the reduction of batch failures and increased right first time performance.

A licence to the project technology was granted to Scale-up Systems in 2020. A further collaborative research project was undertaken in October 2020. The outputs of this second project were the subject of another licence to Scale-up Systems in early 2021.

Scale-up Systems will use the simulations developed to provide users of their Dynochem software with more accurate predictions of the scalability of processes in early-stage development.

“It was a pleasure for our team (Dr Andrew Bird and Dr Charles Gordon) to work with the Van den Akker modelling group in SSPC with support from Aisling Arthur and the University of Limerick Technical Transfer Office. The work was conducted to the highest academic and professional standards and provides reassurance about scale-up from these very common lab set-ups.  The approach of the modeling team made excellent use of state of the art facilities and automation opportunities as well as their knowledge of fluid mechanics and modeling techniques”. Joe Hannon, CEO Scale-up Systems

“It was a pleasure working with Scale-up Systems as it also allowed us to perform simulations of varying levels of sophistication for geometries and conditions relevant to industry and to check their mutual deviations and their respective pros and cons. The response and input from Scale-up Systems was to the point and valuable. The support by TTO was very appropriate and welcome.” Prof. Harry Van Den Akker

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