Polymer–drug conjugate (PDCs) therapeutics are pharmacologically active macromolecular constructs comprising at least one therapeutic agent covalently bound to a polymeric carrier. The conjugation of bioactives to polymers confers numerous benefits, including enhanced drug solubilization, controlled delivery, increased efficacy and improved pharmacokinetics. Conjugation of under-performing therapeutic agents to polymeric carriers has proven useful in many aspects including improving drug solubilization, modifying circulation, reducing immunogenicity, controlling drug release, and enhancing drug safety. Since pioneering efforts, including the approval of the first commercial PDC, Adagen, in 1990, remarkable growth has been witnessed within this field.
Amongst an extensive array of synthetic strategies, however, the majority still rely heavily upon traditional solvent-based multi-step methods, rendering scaled synthetic procedures laborious, time-consuming, and wasteful. In the current project, mechanochemistry will be employed to probe the feasibility of carrying out conjugating syntheses through a continuous multi-component reaction (CMCR) using reactive hot-melt extrusion technology, in the absence of solvent. In so doing, it is anticipated that the team could further extend their previously established pharmaceutical reactive extrusion profile of synthesising pharmaceutical cocrystals and therapeutic deep eutectic systems to reactions involving covalent bonds.
General technical training within the labs on instruments required for the project. Training on scientific writing through generation of progress reports, literature review(s), research article(s), conference presentations (abstracts, posters, slide decks). Expected impact activities include: attendance and dissemination at both national and international conferences, publication of both literature review papers and research articles.
Home applicants must meet the following academic criteria:
1st or 2.1 honours degree in a relevant subject. Relevant subjects include Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Biochemistry, Biological/Biomedical Sciences, Chemistry, Engineering, or a closely related discipline.
International applicants must meet the following academic criteria:
IELTS (or equivalent) of 7.0, a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and a master’s degree in a relevant subject.
Applicants should apply through the University's Direct Application Portal: https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php