R230074 – PhD Studentship (3 years) Exploring the feasibility of multifunctional excipients in paediatric formulation development

Aston University

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College of Health & Life Sciences – Studentships
Aston University Main Campus
Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Saturday 15 April 2023
Reference:  R230074
Release Date:  Thursday 16 March 2023

Contract Type: Fixed Term

Supervisor: Prof Afzal Mohammed

Key words: paediatric formulations, excipients, reformulation, pharmaceutical profiling

Applications are invited for a three-year postgraduate studentship to be undertaken within the Pharmaceutical & Clinical Pharmacy Research Group at Aston University.  The successful applicant will join an established experimental group working on paediatric dosage form design and formulation. The studentship is offered in collaboration with the company Proveca Ltd.

The position is available to start in July 2023.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance  (£17,668 p.a. in 2022/3). 

Overseas Applicants

Unfortunately, overseas applicants are ineligible to apply.

Background to the Project

Pharmaceutical excipients are substances, other than the active pharmaceutical ingredient(s), added to achieve an intended functionality within a drug delivery system (1).  Although considered as inert, these materials can have their own, often unwanted, effects; these are more prevalent in children’s medicines, owing to differences in anatomy, physiology and development and the extensive use of unlicensed and off-label medicines, where excipient composition and load that is suitable and safe is not guaranteed (2).

To address this challenge, the overarching hypothesis of this project is that multifunctional excipients will reduce excipient burden and improve safety in paediatric formulations. This is a jointly funded industry project sponsored by Proveca Ltd, a specialist paediatric formulation company.

The programme of work will include literature assessment of multifunctional excipients which will form the basis for creating a multi-functional excipient framework to inform paediatric formulation development. The usability of the outcomes will be evaluated by reformulating a selection of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) that will be identified in consultation with expertise at Proveca Ltd and in line with clinical and regulatory priorities for paediatric medicines. The strategy for reformulated products will be based on outcomes generated in a previous project between Aston and Proveca Ltd and will include pharmaceutical profiling (assay development, solubility testing, excipient screening), formulation characterisation and stability testing. It is likely both liquid as well as solid dosage form development will be studied but key focus will be paediatric formulation criteria.   

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have been awarded, or expect to achieve, a Masters degree in a relevant subject with a 60% or higher weighted average, and/or a First or Upper Second Class Honours degree (or an equivalent qualification from an overseas institution) in Pharmacy or related subjects. Preferred skill requirements include knowledge/experience of assay development and validation and knowledge of paediatric specific formulation development.

Contact information

Please contact Prof Afzal Mohammed ([email protected]) or Dr Dan Kirby ([email protected]) for an informal query or discussion.

Submitting an application

Details of how to submit your application, and the necessary supporting documents can be found here . 

Please select “Research Health Sciences” from the application form options.

The application must be accompanied by a “research proposal” statement. An original proposal is not required as the initial scope of the project has been defined, candidates should take this opportunity to detail how their knowledge and experience will benefit the project and should also be accompanied by a brief review of relevant research literature.

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