By shifting from batch to continuous production of crystals the researchers expect to reduce environmental impact by 40 to 90 per cent, lower costs by 25 to 60 per cent and improve quality control.
A sizable proportion of pharma products, more than 80 per cent according to the researchers, are in a crystalline form. The researchers are focused on improving the production of these products by developing technology that can be applied to commercial pharma operations.
Chick Wilson, head of chemistry at the University of Glasgow, explained: “This project will offer crucial academic input to the development of platform solutions applying crystallisation science to manufacturing, geared directly at the need of end-users.”
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), AstraZeneca (AZ), Schering-Plough, Fujifilm, NiTech and Warwick International are part of the collaboration, ensuring the researchers have input from industry.
These companies will work with the Scottish Universities of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Heriot-Watt, as well as a range of small and medium enterprises.
Sandy Dobbie, chair of Chemical Sciences Scotland, welcomed the sight of “multi-national organisations with bases in Scotland engaging with several of our universities and our SMEs”.
Dobbie added that more of these collaborations are planned, with companies “explaining what they need to take their business to another level” and researchers then working “to find the optimum solution”.
The grant is part of £8.1m funding the Scottish Government has given out to support university and industry partnerships.