The project, known as the ‘Grand Challenge 1’, is led by the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), a non-profit organization connecting academia with the pharmaceutical industry, and funded by GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Scottish Enterprise.
The collaboration aims to maximize process control over traditional manufacturing methods, through the development of a continuous direct compression (CDC) platform, expected to enable oral solid dosage medicines to be formulated more robustly and efficiently.
More specifically, CDC will allow manufacturers to produce formulations at a range of scales, providing shorter optimization times than batch-type processes and therefore more efficient use of starting materials.
Under the ‘Grand Challenge 1’ project, researchers will initially create a digital twin of CDC, in order to optimise the formulation process in the digital space.
Manufacturers will be able to model their processes on the digital twin, acquiring “a much deeper understanding of how active ingredients and excipients will perform,” stated Alastair Florence, professor of the University of Strathclyde and member of the research team.
Florence added that this could lead to ‘radically’ reducing the amount of material needed to optimize formulations.
Ultimately, the platform will “assist pharmaceutical companies to develop formulations faster and at reduced cost,” commented Dave Tudor, managing director of the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre.
The platform, which is currently under development at the University of Strathclyde, is projected to be operational by Q3 2020.
Following that, CDC will be transferred and established at the Medicines Manufacturing Innovation Centre, CPI’s small molecule manufacturing facility located in Renfrewshire, Scotland, planned to open in 2021.
Earlier this year, the CPI announced another collaboration with GSK and AstraZeneca, under the 'Prospect CP' project for the building of a continuous wet granulation manufacturing facility in Durham, UK.