IDEA website

The INTERREG4A "2 Mers Seas Zeeën" cross-border cooperation project IDEA (Improving Drug Efficacy and Availability) project originated from the presence in the 2-seas EU region of some of the world-leading researchers in the challenging field of solid state pharmaceutical developmental science. These scientists worked in various fields (physics, chemistry, pharmacy) at the Universities of Cambridge, East Anglia, Ghent and Lille as well as at a Flemish SME. They grouped together their complementary scientific know-how and equipment to implement a new activity which meets the urgent demands of advanced drug delivery systems and approaches. This innovation-driven research programme had important outcomes for public health as well as for vocational training. It provided a unique opportunity to position the region as an international leader in the solid state pharmaceutical field. In addition, it attracted and supported new SME companies in the pharmaceutical area for whom our consortium supplied world leading technology for the development of novel drugs. Such biotechnological companies are dramatically lacking in the region.

The vast majority (80%) of drugs are prepared as solid products (powders, tablets , capsules). These solid systems may exist in a number of different forms (crystal polymorphs, amorphous forms, nanocrystals) which behave differently in the human body with strong impact on therapeutic efficacy, safety and profound implications for product registration and product stability. Controlling and predicting the solid state properties during manufacture and on storage are thus major issues in the development of new pharmaceutical products. This is particularly pertinent for drugs with poor water solubility (70% of new drugs). Newly synthesized drugs for cancer therapy are particularly concerned by this optimization of the solid state form to be administered to patients. There is thus a very current awareness for research and training reorientation so as to incorporate understanding of the solid state chemistry of drugs and dosage forms to overcome the present empirical approach.

Our aim was to develop within the EU region an original research activity programme with technical applications to the design of new solid state pharmaceuticals, with a view to facilitating the development of both new and existing drugs in forms with improved bioavailability, efficacy, chemical and physical stability, safety and predictability. The new forms was mainly be based on nanoparticle technologies, amorphous drug forms and molecular complexations. The participation of a pharmaceutical company (SME Ghent) in the project provided fast and efficient validation of the most innovative developments.

We implemented a trans-disciplinary (physics, chemistry and pharmacy) technological platform at the state-of-the-art, dedicated to: i) material synthesis, ii) advanced characterisation, iii) formulation of pharmaceutical materials. This helped establishing the EU region as an attractive choice for companies developing new drug products. It was also supported the training program of the project.

We created in the region a training centre for a new trade dedicated to the optimization of the solid-state drug manufacturing processes. This training has been provided jointly by the members of the partnership. This type of trade met the need of pharmaceutical firms in order to overcome the major bottlenecks of the drug development. This (by nature trans-disciplinary) training did not exist before the IDEA project. It has targeted students and personnel from local industries undertaking continuing professional development.

Partners of the IDEA project:
University Lille1 - France (Prof. M. Descamps). Coordinator.
University of Cambridge - UK (Prof. W. Jones)
University Lille2 – France (Prof. J. Siepmann)
University of Ghent – Belgium(Prof. C. Vervaet)
University of East Anglia - UK (Prof. D. Craig/Dr S. Qi)
SEPS Pharma - Belgium (Dr Y. Gonissen)

Contact :
Prof. Marc Descamps
Unité Matériaux et Transformations (UMET)
CNRS UMR 8207 - Université Lille 1
BAT P5 – Cité Scientifique

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