The Fabrication & Synthetic Technologies for Advanced Drug Delivery cluster seeks to develop new dosage forms to optimise drug action.
The cluster undertakes a broad gamut of research activities spanning the medicines development pathway, from the initial physicochemical characterisation of new drugs/excipients and the determination of biological correlates to the ultimate formulation of novel drug delivery systems.
Formulations are developed for all the main routes of administration (including oral, nail, pulmonary, parenteral) and a number of proprietary drug delivery platforms have been progressed to the point of commercial availability. There are particular interests in developing personalised dose delivery systems, and in establishing a scientific basis to improve tissue and cellular PK/PD profiles and thereby lower systemic exposure.
Research areas include fundamental work in pharmaceutical characterisation (e.g. thermal, surface and materials analysis) and the development of new techniques, particularly through hyphenation. Group members are also very active in pharmaceutical processing (e.g. 3D printing, inkjet printing, solid dosage form fabrication, spray drying, coating, electrospinning and spraying). There is a significant effort in the development of processes to fabricate particulate associated formulations (e.g. nano- and microparticles), molecularly ordered materials and tissue implantable formulations to optimise drug action. Other research strategies involve the modification of active substances, for instance through covalent conjugation to biocompatible dendrimers and polymers.
Active drug substances ranging from low molecular weight actives (such as cytotoxic agents) to proteins and even cells are being used in strategies to improve efficacy. Much research is based on the requirements of specific medical indications including cancer, inflammation and infection, and/or the targeting of particular tissues (e.g. malignant tissue) or organs (e.g. brain, eye and skin).
Many of the cluster members have established collaborations in the wider UCL community and with industry partners in most of the major pharmaceutical companies. Research within the cluster is currently supported by major funding from the EPSRC, NHS, BBSRC, MRC, European Commission, and Technology Strategy Board. We are regular users of national facilities such as the Diamond Light Source.
Work from the cluster has resulted in a number of spinout companies in recent years, including Nanomerics, Intract Pharma and FabRx. The research it performs feeds directly into the MSc programmes in Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Formulation & Entrepreneurship.