A consortium of pharmaceutical companies, academic researchers and analytical development specialists has secured a £660,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board, the UK’s innovation agency, towards a £1 million project aimed at accelerating paediatric formulation development through smart design and predictive science.

Led by AstraZeneca, the UK-wide consortium includes Columbia Laboratories subsidiary and pharmaceutical analytical-development specialist Molecular Profiles; the not-for-profit Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences; Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb and GlaxoSmithKline; and academic institutions such as University College London, the University of Bath, the University of Birmingham and Aston University.

As Molecular Profiles pointed out, developing paediatric formulations is a more complex proposition than formulation development for adult medicines. As well as taking into account differences in physiology and anatomy, paediatric formulations have to offer flexible dosing and effective taste-masking.

Novel platform

This consortium will address the need for improved speed, cost and quality of paediatric formulation by drawing on the combined expertise of its members. The goal is to deliver a novel, commercially available, regulatory-approved platform to identify the most appropriate delivery strategy for paediatric medicines.

The government-backed Technology Strategy Board has awarded more than £9.2 million in support of 35 collaborative projects to advance the UK’s capabilities in formulated products, Molecular Profiles noted.

The funding allocated through the Formulated products - meeting the product and process design challenge was shared by 19 feasibility projects and 16 collaborative R&D projects.

The Board’s initial comnitment was increased by 50% due to the strength of the submissions, Molecular Profiles said.