School of schools
The motto of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science (SIPBS) is: “New medicines, better medicines and better use of medicines.” Professor Graham Coombs, the first head of the SIPBS, describes the work of the Institute as “research intensive,” focusing on themes including: ....…
• pharmaceutical sciences
• cardiovascular sciences
• infection, immunity and microbiology
• cell biology
• neuroscience and mental health
The Institute was formed from the bringing together of five different departments and Coombs describes this as “unique breadth in a single site,” with medicinal chemistry and drug discovery taking place side by side with pharmacy practice, to realise the vision of an interactive and collaborative, multi-disciplinary school that “breaks down the barriers” between different branches of science such as pharmacology and immunology. According to Coombs, this leads to a subtle change in culture as well as in the flow of information, and creates new opportunities for specialists in niche areas to work much more closely with colleagues in other disciplines – and transfer their skills to partners round the world in countries such as Nepal where leishmaniasis is common.
The SIPBS' flagship undergraduate course is the four-year MPharm degree (Master of Pharmacy), and its other courses include Biomedical Science as well as post-graduate courses in both Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Analysis, plus programmes in Drug Delivery Systems.
The Institute is also home to various facilities and research initiatives, including:
The Centre for Innovative Manufacturing
The new Centre will “revolutionise the way pharmaceuticals and other chemicals are made,” withresearchers and academics working together to develop new continuous manufacturing approaches for products such as medicines, foodstuffs, dyes, pigments and nanomaterials. Led by SIPBS’ ProfessorAlastair Florence, who headed a consortium that won £6.7 million in funding for the new facility, including £4.9 million from the EPSRC, the Centre will bring together existing teams at Strathclyde and house a suite of reactors for continuous manufacturing and crystallisation.
Cancer Research UK Formulation Unit
The Unit has a remit to pharmaceutically research and develop putative anti-cancer drugs to a level suitable for patient administration in early clinical trials. This requires “a mixture of blue sky and applied pharmaceutical research” across a range of drug types, and the Unit has handled about 100 new compounds, several of which (e.g. temozolomide, DMXAA, abiraternone) have been passed to pharmaceutical companies for further development.
CeNsUS (Centre for Neuroscience University of Strathclyde) brings together PsyRING (the Psychiatric Research Institute of Neuroscience in Glasgow), SIPBS and the departments of Psychology, Bioengineering and Mathematics to build strategic partnerships between academia, the NHS and industry.
Simple Intrasequence Difference (SID) Analysis
The development of software tools to probe the 3D structure of macromolecules looking for tell-tale topological motifs that are likely to be functional allosteric regulatory sites – which may offer new and better ways to control the functioning of therapeutic targets.
A start-up company that has developed a group of novel synthetic polyamides that specifically bind to the minor groove of DNA. The DNA compounds arelicensed for use as selective antibacterial agents and pre-clinical trials are expected to be completed by the end of 2011.