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A novel class of excipients for stabilizing protein therapeutics

Project Description

Biopharmaceutical proteins constitute a growing proportion of the drug catalogue for virtually all major pharmaceutical companies. The global market has grown from $8b in 1992, to $149b in 2010 and reached an estimated $239b in 2015. There are currently about 120 biologics in clinical use, with a further 400 currently in clinical trials. There are, however, a number of associated challenges in their manufacturing and formulation. One key bottleneck is preventing their physical degradation, which occurs primarily through irreversible aggregation pathways. Aggregation can be prevented by using excipients, which are molecules added to solutions to improve the protein stability. Small multivalent anions comprise a novel class of excipients that have yet to be explored for various applications in therapeutic protein processing and formulation. This project will focus on determining the fundamentals of how the excipients interact with proteins, and how these interactions relate to protein-protein interactions, protein aggregation, and phase separation phenomenon. Research Training: The project provides training in a broad range of biophysical characterization methods combined with molecular modelling and informatics approaches for elucidating intermolecular interactions. The Curtis lab contains a suite of light scattering detectors, an electrophoretic light scattering detector, and a size-exclusion chromatography-multi angle laser light scattering (SEC-MALLS) set-up, all of which will be used off-line for protein physical stability indicators. Some of the work will use the analytical facilities at Manchester including temperature programmable multi-detection systems for high throughput stability screening and analytical ultracentrifugation. The Warwicker lab will oversee the modelling studies and runs an on-line solubility prediction website for proteins which will be used and developed as part of the work. The project will be part of a larger grouping of academics and students focused on research into the next generation of bioprocessing and formulation development. As part of this grouping, the student will have access to academic and industrial workshops focusing on all aspects of biopharmaceutical development including cell biosciences, downstream bioprocessing, formulation development and bioanalytical characterization. These will showcase how tools developed in academia are now being applied in an industrial environment.
Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2.1 honours degree in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, physics, biochemistry, chemistry, or a related discipline

Funding Notes

For self-funded students

Related Subjects

How good is research at The University of Manchester in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?
Chemical Engineering

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.90

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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