Public Release:  Pharmaceutical firms and universities to work together on multi million pound biotechnology project

University of Manchester

Europe's largest public-private partnership dedicated to the development of manufacturing sustainable pharmaceuticals has been launched. It's being led by The University of Manchester and the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.

The €26.4 (£21.2M) project, CHEM21, brings together six pharmaceutical companies, 13 Universities and four small to medium enterprises from across Europe. The aim is to develop sustainable biological and chemical alternatives to finite materials, such as precious metals, which are currently used as catalysts in the manufacture of medicines.

Introducing biotechnology to the manufacturing processes for medicines will limit the drain on the world's resources and have a lasting benefit on the environment.

Professor Nicholas Turner from The University of Manchester commented "This is a unique opportunity for academic groups to work alongside pharmaceutical companies and specialist SMEs to develop innovative catalytic processes for pharmaceutical synthesis. We believe that challenging problems of this nature are best solved on a pan-European basis by bringing together under one roof the combined expertise of many groups to establish a world-class research hub in catalysis and sustainable chemical synthesis."

CHEM21 will run initially for four years with funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative. The project will establish a European research hub to act as a source of up-to-date information on green chemistry. It will also develop training packages to ensure that the principles of sustainable manufacturing are embedded in the education of future scientists

Commenting on the news, John Baldoni from GlaxoSmithKline said: "Improving the sustainability of our drug manufacturing processes through collaborations such as CHEM21 will not only reduce our industry's carbon footprint, but will provide savings that can be reinvested in the development of new medicines, increase access to medicines through cost reduction and drive innovations that will simplify and transform our manufacturing paradigm"

CHEM21 launched in October and work is already underway on this ground breaking project.

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