Drug Design & Delivery

Drug Design & Delivery

Research within the Drug Design & Delivery research group aims to design and analyse new drugs, and to develop new formulations and characterisation tools towards the delivery and targeting of therapeutic agents in the treatment of inflammatory diseases, cancers, infections, asthma, diabetes and CNS conditions.  In addition to progressing in-house molecules, the translational thrust of the group is effective in collaborative and fee-for-service research.

Key Achievements

We publish high quality research in peer-reviewed international academic journals and a number of patents have resulted from work in the group. Members of the group are recognised as international leaders in their field and collaborate with groups across the world. We undertake collaborative research with leading Pharma companies and SMEs.

We comprise of academics who have industrial experience of synthesis and development, and coupled with a strong history of collaborative research through innovate UK grants and industrial studentships, are keen to bring translational outcomes for their research.  The group is headed by Rob Forbes.

Drug discovery expertise within the group (Snape, Shervington, Elsawy, Krysmann, Zhou, Dennison) is centred around the chemical synthesis and biological evaluation of compounds and pro-drugs with potential anticancer and antibacterial properties and the development of new synthetic methods to make such compounds, prodrugs and nano-composites.

Strong formulation activity (Elsawy, Oga, Isreb, Forbes, Ferraz, Alhnan, Singh) is built around nano-formulation, biopharmaceutical challenges, aspects of solubilization, and the developmental area of clinical pharmaceutics investigating drug/drug and drug/excipient interaction. The team is well-equipped and experienced in the delivery of drugs to the lung (Ferraz, Forbes).

A pivotal interest of the group in understanding molecular behaviour in complex environments, has been enhanced by involvement in collaborative R&D with industrial consortia.  Forbes has a track record in collaborating with such consortia to help bring new analytical technologies to the market-place. Alhnan is working to enhance coating and 3D-printing technologies for drug delivery.

We are also interested in exploiting molecular conformation in the design and preparation of diagnostic probes to detect enzymes over-expressed in disease and the bio-membrane interaction of novel nano-sized drug delivery systems and the utilization and validation of our in-house blood brain barrier model (Alder, Singh, Snape, Dennison).

The Newton-Mosharafa fund has been awarded to Dr Mohamed Elsawy, Lecturer in Pharmaceutics in the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences. The fund is from the British Council and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Egypt and is awarded as a PhD studentship. The amount awarded is £156,056 (£ 56,056 student allowance + £100K tuition and bench fees) and the project will be running over 4 years. The fund is awarded for the development of peptide-based soft biomaterials as therapeutic agents for glioblastoma.

Two new papers by our academics have been accepted for publication in American Chemical Society (ACS) journals in June 2019:
The first, published in ACS Chemical Biology involved the design of glycogen phosphorylase inhibitors that reduce glycogenolysis in hepatocytes with potential against type 2 diabetes mellitus, a collaboration with Newcastle University, De Montfort University and University of Debrecen (Hungary).

The other, published in Journal of Physical Chemistry B, a computational and experimental analysis of atomistic interactions that guide monomer efficacy in molecular imprinted polymers (MIPs) for proteins, a collaboration with PSC and University of Cyprus.

Meet The Team

Members of the Group include