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OM3: Optimization of MacroMolecular Manufacturability

A project with the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Emergent Macromolecular Therapies at UCL.

Investigators: Joshua Knowles, Suzanne Farid (UCL) and Richard Allmendinger (UCL)
PhD Student: Mohammed M A Sharif


We are working on problems related to the development of new drug therapies based on macromolecules. These large-molecule (polymeric) drugs differ from conventional medicines in that they tend to remain in the body (bloodstream) for longer. This gives them time to work on their target (e.g. a tumour), even when the drug is taken at low-dosage, potentially reducing side-effects and improving treatment outcomes.

Our problem is concerned with planning for the large-scale manufacture of these therapies. A drug can only make it to clinical practice if it is possible to produce it at the required purity for a realistic cost. Many drugs turn out to be too difficult to produce on an industrial scale for this reason. We aim to create computational methods (algorithms) that enable pharmaceutical companies to track a portfolio of candidate drugs at different stages of the manufacturing and testing process. The software optimizes the portfolio to maximize the probability of getting a drug to market, taking account of uncertainties in budgets, infrastructure costs and market values.

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