Lilly in £5m alliance with UK academia to transform medicines manufacturing

Imperial College London, UCL and Eli Lilly have formed an alliance that strives to transform medicines manufacturing in England. Under the collaboration, Lilly has committed £5 million to fund research into the more efficient manufacture of medicines, which, the parties note, could ultimately result in better and cheaper treatments for patients.

The cash will be used to fund a virtual lab, led by Imperial, will see researchers from both universities apply Process Systems Engineering (PSE) methods to improve medicines manufacturing. PSE uses computer-assisted methods and models to design, control and optimise processes, in an approach previously by the petrochemical, chemicals, and consumer goods industries.

“Applying PSE methods to the pharmaceutical industry has the potential to increase efficiency, decrease wastage and resolve quality control issues across the manufacturing process,” the partners note.

The collaboration will initially run for six years, during which time researchers will focus on building more predictive models, designing more effective experiments, and improving the design of pharmaceutical manufacturing systems.

“We are excited to collaborate with leading UK institutions on enabling innovation in medicines manufacturing,” said Dr Salvador García Muñoz, senior engineer advisor, Small Molecule Design and Development, at Lilly. “Building on Lilly’s extensive heritage of partnerships across industry and academia, we are committed to collaborations that ultimately support better delivery of medicines to patients.”