CMAC News February 2014


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Welcome to issue 3 of CMAC News.  As usual, we aim to keep you up to date with current activity in the National Centre programme.  It has been an exciting start to the year for CMAC with 2 announcements and a visit from the Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and multiple associated press articles.  We’re looking forward to the start of all collaborations through the iCON funding scheme and welcoming associated research groups to Strathclyde for kick-off meetings later this month.  This edition provides further highlights on researchers, industry and the RPIF award.
For future editions any feedback, articles or notes of esteem will be warmly welcomed,

Andrea (Centre Manager)


RPIF Opening – Vince Cable

CMAC kicked off the New Year on a high note, with a visit from Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, on Wednesday 8th January. The visit, at the University of Strathclyde, marked the official opening of Phase 1 of the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund for Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Research. Pictured here is Vince Cable with Alastair Florence, Craig Johnston and Cive Badman (GSK) Read more >>

   Open Day

Manufacturing with Light

Funded awards from the recent EPSRC, Manufacturing with Light Call were announced, on Thursday January 7th, by Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. The successful project entitled ‘Laser-induced nucleation for crystallisation of high-value materials in continuous manufacturing processes’ led by Dr Andrew Alexander (The University of Edinburgh), including CMAC Co-Investigators (Prof Jan Sefcik and Prof Colin Pulham) will work closely alongside existing CMAC researchers to accelerate the adoption of continuous manufacturing and crystallisation. Read more >>


Save the Date – Manufacturing the Future Conference 2014

We are proud hosts of the 3rd Annual Manufacturing the Future Conference, 23rd – 24th September 2014 www.manufacturinguk.org. This is the premier national manufacturing research conference which focuses on the leading edge of science and engineering for manufacturing, so put the date in your diary and we’ll see you all there! Read more >>

                  Annual review

Government Stakeholders

On the Wednesday 15th January 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Chief Scientific Adviser (CSA), Prof Robin Grime, visited CMAC. The UK Chief Scientific Adviser is responsible for providing advice to the Foreign Secretary, Ministers and officials on science, technology and innovation.  His role is to ensure that our work on key issues undergoes proper scientific challenge, and to strengthen the scientific and engineering capacity within the Foreign Office. The CSA works closely with the cross-government community of Chief Scientific Advisers and the wider UK and international academic science community.

Prof Graham Wren (Strathclyde) recently presented to the parliment select comittee in Westminister on industry/academia partnerships highlighting CMAC.


CMAC Governance

February saw the 12th CMAC Board (chair by Dr Clive Badman, GSK) and technical committee hosted by Novartis in Basel. The program included strategy discussions and position with tier 1 technology roadmaps, discussions on technical direction and projects, technical presentations, broader engagement and a tour of Novartis facilities. The next board meeting is being held in Boston in May.In Jan there was the 6th EPSRC Advisory Board (chair Prof Paul Sharratt, ICES). The academic, industry board reviewed the substantial Centre progress to date including the Phase II program, ‘centreness’ and future growth and sustainability of our key activities. The Board has an ongoing interest in how the Centre network develops over time with existing partners as well as through iCON projects and national Centre activity. 


iCON projects

Congratulations to the seven successful iCON projects:

  • Dr Svetlana Ignatova (Brunel University) Counter-current liquid-liquid processes for continuous manufacture of APIs

  • Prof Alexei Lapkin (University of Cambridge) Telescoping continuous synthesis of APIs to work-up

  • Prof Ian Baxendale (University of Durham) Extracting and delivery procedures using phase transfer strategies

   Mettler Toledo meet with Centre and Industry directors
  • Prof Nigel Titchener-Hooker (University College London) An ultra scale-down investigation of the impact of continuous crystallisation performance and Recovery by depth filtration

  • Prof Steve Ley (University of Cambridge) In-line flow solvent evaporator

  • Dr Mark Haw (University of Strathclyde) OMNIFLOW: Optical and Magnetic Non-Invasive Flow and manipulation platform for controlling nucleation using local flow.

    Kick-off meetings for all projects are scheduled for this month and we are very much looking forward to working with these groups in new exciting areas of research.


Fiona McGurk is undertaking a project exploring links between art and science. The culmination will be an exhibition of her CMAC portfolio in Edinburgh as part of a wider ‘Hidden Doors’ http://hiddendoorblog.org/. Opening night is 28th March and we will be looking to focus attendance on this date.  All across wide CMAC network are welcome. Please contact info@fionamcgurk.co.uk if interested in attending. Further information on project at www.fionamcgurk.co.uk. An application to Welcome Trust will be made to continue and broaden this work.


DTC update

The first cohort of DTC students are now well underway with their individual research projects. The 1st cohort of eight students along with existing Centre researchers and industrialists have joined the new mentor groupings to provide extra support and guidance during their projects as well as accelerate the dissemination of the research. The second cohort of 17 students who commenced their DTC journey in October 2013 are now mid-way through their residential training weeks which sees them travel around the seven CMAC universities and learn about the core aspects of the National Centre’s research scope. We are now advertising positions for the third cohort of 20 students who will commence October 2014. Read more >>

   DTC 2013 cohort

£34M RPIF Update – New Equipment

We have commenced the ordering of new equipment under the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund award. This new suite of platform technology will assist in the growth and acceleration of research projects. Remember a comprehensive list of equipment installed in CMAC labs can be viewed using ULab (http://spider.science.strath.ac.uk/lab/). Pictured left is is the progress of the new TIC laboratory taken by the CMAC Artist in Residence, Fiona McGurk.

  • An extensive complement of Mettler Toledo technology has now been commissioned for CMAC including seven FBRMs, PVM, ReactIR and an EasyMax Synthesis Workstation. This equipment will allow the development of complete monitoring and control systems in continuous crystallisation across the seven universities.

  • A Mastersizer3000 has been installed and commissioned @ CMAC University of Strathclyde, allowing offline particle size distribution measurements of both wet and dry samples.

  • An Avantium Crystalline and Crystal16 have been ordered for CMAC @ University of Strathclyde. This technology allows for solubility curves to be prepared in as little as 4 hours using only 100 mg of material. The Crystalline also has the added capability of particle viewer and Raman monitoring technology.

  • A Precison Nanosystems NanoAssemblr has recently been installed and commissioned @ CMAC University of Strathclyde. The bench-top instrument is a microfluidic-based manufacturing platform for the rapid development of therapeutic nanoparticles including solid-core lipid nanoparticles (LNP) for encapsulation of macromolecules, liposomes, nanoemulsions and polymer nanoparticles.

  • A Lecia SEM sample preparation system has also been installed @ CMAC University of Strathclyde

CMAC are currently recruiting a project manager for the RPIF award, see below and keep an eye on the CMAC Vacancies.


Introducing ICT-CMAC

The ICT-CMAC (Intelligent Decision Support and Control Technologies for Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation of Pharmaceuticals and Fine Chemicals) project is now underway across Loughborough and Strathclyde University. All key staff are appointed and detailed research plans have been formulated.

The overall goal of the £3.1m project fits with the CMAC vision of accelerating the adoption of continuous manufacturing processes, systems and plants for the production of high-value chemical products to higher levels of quality, at a lower cost and in a more sustainable manner, with a particular focus on the real time, robust monitoring of quantitative attributes (form, shape, size) of crystalline particulate products. To enable this measurement data from in-line sensors will be processed to extract these key attributes in real time across multiple manufacturing steps and subsequently use this knowledge as inputs to an intelligent decision support and control platform. Meet the ICT-CMAC team and Read more >>

   Anna at open day


At time of writing we are waiting formal notification on a major £22.7m Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative. This project is led by GSK, with Astrazeneca as other key prime. It will help adapt pharma clinical and commercial supply chains for future new patient focused. IfM Cambridge (co-ordinator) and University of Strathclyde on behalf of EPSRC national centre are the academic partners. Most of the technical project scope is focused on continuous manufacturing in API and Primary to Secondary areas. There are 20 industrial partners including 11 SMEs. In other funding news:



Interested in joining the CMAC team? We are currently recruiting for the following posts:

  • Broad range of postdoctoral research positions, contact Dr Andrea Johnston for further informaiton

  • RPIF Project Manager, University of Strathclyde

  • CMAC Senior Laboratory Technician, University of Strathclyde read more

  • Research Assistant, Manufacturing with Light, University of Strathclyde Read more>>

  • Up to 20 PhD studentships for the DTC in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation Read more>>

  • 20 fully funded studentships for Msc  in Advanced Pharmaceutical Manufacturing, University of Strathclyde Read more>>


New Positions

  • Thomas McGlone has taken the new position of Platform Senior Research Associate at the University of Strathclyde.

  • Cameron Brown, Heriot Watt University, will be joining CMAC at the University of Strathclyde in March 2014, in the position of senior research associate.


Researcher achievements

  • DTC researcher Laura Martinez-Marcos (Strathclyde) has been selected to be a representative for the Student Association of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (SAPS)

  • Researcher Vincenza Dragone (Glasgow) was awarded the 1st prize for the poster section in the 4th FROST meeting in Budapest.

  • Researcher Kate Wittering (Bath) was awarded the poster prize at both the 28th European Crystallographic Meeting and BCA Industrial Group Autumn Meeting 2013.

  • The Cambridge team have been invited to speak at a special session on “Product development and manufacturing process development in the pharmaceutical industry” at the 25th Annual Production and Operations Management Society (POMS) Conference in May 2014.

  • Researcher Dr Thomas McGlone (Strathclyde) was invited to give an oral presentation at the Flow Chemistry Asia conference in Singapore.

  • On completion of her PhD Laura Palmer (Strathclyde) has secured a job at Johnson Matthey, UK.

  • On completion of his researcher position Rajan Talati (Strathclyde) has moved to work at MacFarlane Smith, UK. We wish both Laura and Rajan every success in their future careers.


CMAC in the news

CMAC were in the spotlight again this quarter with the stories of the RPIF Phase 1 opening by Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, on Wednesday 8th January and the successful Manufacturing with Light award, also announced by Dr Cable. This resulted in articles in several national publications including The Times, The Journal, MSN News, The Manufacturer and Engineering & Technology Magazine. Read more >>


Other CMAC news

  • Congratulations to Professor Jan Sefcik, University of Strathclyde who was promoted to Professor in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering.

  • CMAC was awarded EPSRC Impact Accelerator Account funds from the University of Strathclyde for researcher Dr Anna Jawor-Baczynska for an eight week secondment at AstraZeneca, Macclesfield to accelerate the adoption of continuous crystallisation.

  • CMAC Co-I Professor Lee Cronin featured in the "100 leading UK practising scientists" list published by the Science Council. Read more >>

  • New Publication: Sans V.; Glatzel S.; Douglas F. J.; Maclaren D. A.; Lapkin A. and Cronin L., Non-equilibrium dynamic control of gold nanoparticle and hyper-branched nanogold assemblies, Chem. Sci., 2014,5, 1153-1157.

Past Events

  • Dr Thomas McGlone presented at Flow Chemistry Asia 2013, 14th – 15th November, Singapore

  • Prof Alastair Florence was an invited speaker at the 1st Winter Processing Conference, 16th – 17th December, University of Leeds

  • Dr Andrea Johnston and Dr Murray Robertson (ICT-CMAC researcher) participated in the Liberating Lab Data Workshop, 20th January, Macclesfield

  • Dr Ian Houson participated in the Horizon 2020 Brokerage Event, 31st January, Brussels and is actively pursuing several project proposals. CMAC is now an academic member of A.SPIRE


Meet us at these events

  • CMAC are sponsors and joint organisers of the RSC Continuous Flow Technology in Industry Symposium, 17th – 19th March, Cambridge. The symposium will highlight recent developments focusing on the growth of continuous processes in the fine and speciality chemicals and pharma industries. Read more >>

  • CMAC will be co-hosts of the EPSRC/NSF workshop, 9th – 11th April, Puerto Rico

  • CMAC are jointly hosting a Continuous Manufacturing Conference with MIT, International symposium on the controlled production of pharmaceutical, 20th – 21st May, Boston USA.

  • Full listing of events is available on our website.

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