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Early prediction of formulation behaviour for new antibody products

Project Description

CASE Partner: National Institute for Biological Standards and Control

Antibody-based biologics such as monoclonal antibodies are the fastest growing segments in the biopharmaceutical industry (global market predicted to be $100bn by 2022) due to their unique therapeutic potential. The growth in biosimilar and follow-on versions is also huge. The challenges to formulate these new therapeutics economically and effectively for safe delivery to patients are greater than ever. In order to overcome these challenges most biologics are lyophilised (freeze-dried) but physical or chemical degradation may still occur in process or during storage causing major financial losses.
In collaboration with NIBSC, with a long history of studying the quality of biotherapeutics, this project aims to solve some of today’s challenges in manufacturing of important biologics by the use of biophysical measurements from well-known engineering concepts to predict stability.

The iCASE student will facilitate from the collaboration between the Surface and Particle Engineering Laboratory (Chemical Engineering Department) where the majority of the biophysical measurements will take place from existing set-ups, and the Biotherapeutics Department and Standardisation Science Section at NIBSC, which have considerable experience in formulation and drying of antibodies and their bioactivity and functional characterisation. The characterisation will include preservation of bioactivity (through cell based assays), molecular integrity, crystallinity/amorphous content and the mechanical properties of the lyophilised material.
A successful studentship will yield insights into the biophysical behaviour of new antibody products that may lead to an early in-situ prediction technology, to aid manufacturing and formulation of future biologics with optimal critical quality attributes.

The PhD candidates in Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London will be given necessary computational and research resources for the duration of their PhD. In addition, we are highly encouraging of the PhD candidate to take part in professional development opportunities during their PhD programme in addition to their research, and the college has specific professional development courses available for PhDs, global research exchange programmes, PhD careers fairs, and secondment opportunities.

To be eligible, candidates must either have, or expect to obtain, Master’s degree with 2.1/Merit or higher or a Bachelor’s degree with research/ relevant industry experience equivalent of an MSc. This project will suit graduates in chemical engineering, biochemical engineering, biotechnology, biochemistry and other related disciplines. This studentship is only available to UK and EU students who fulfill the three-year UK residency criteria.

The deadline is the 28th of April but applicants are recommended to apply early. Please send your CV and cover letter to:

Funding Notes

This is a four-year, fully-funded industrial CASE studentship part of the BBSRC Imperial College London & Royal Holloway University of London Doctoral Training Partnership. The studentship covers: (i) a tax-free stipend at the standard Research Council rate (£17,009 per annum for 19/20AY), (ii) tuition fees at UK rate, and (iii) an annual financial contribution towards research and training. The industry partner will also provide financial support as agreed upon between the industry partner and the supervisor.

How good is research at Imperial College London in Aeronautical, Mechanical, Chemical and Manufacturing Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 172.80

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

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