The North West Centre for Advanced Drug Delivery (NoWCADD) is a translational science centre based at The University of Manchester. We are funded through a collaboration with AstraZeneca's Pharmaceutical Technology and Development (PT&D) and Pharmaceutical Sciences and departments.
We are focused on three core objectives:
We create collaborative R&D programmes with research groups in Manchester and across the global scientific community.
We transform emerging drug delivery science into value medicines for treating serious and life-threatening conditions.
Education for industry
We identify talented students and stimulate their interest in early career pharmaceutical science roles in industry.
We develop collaborations with other groups in the Manchester academic and NHS network and build strategic connections with high-profile research groups across the global scientific community.
The partnership between The University of Manchester and AstraZeneca has been instrumental in the creation and growth of NoWCADD.
AstraZeneca pushes the boundaries of science to deliver life-changing medicines to patients. They have made a long-term commitment to building an internationally recognised centre in advanced drug delivery in the heart of north-west England.
The close proximity of the University and AstraZeneca's Macclesfield campus provides a strong foundation for scientific collaboration, excellence in education and pathways to societal impact of new and innovative technologies.
We are constantly looking for further collaborations in advanced drug delivery to progress newer and better medicinal products and drug delivery technologies towards clinical development. We have already launched projects working with partners beyond AstraZeneca and The University of Manchester.
Why collaborate with NoWCADD?
The benefits of collaborating with us include access to expertise, infrastructure and resources to catalyse initial studies, with a longer-term view to securing collaborative research funding and industry investment.
Collaborations with groups outside of NoWCADD's core science team can take place in two ways:
Access to seed funding and resources
We will work with collaborators on short-focused feasibility projects aimed at identifying new product and technology opportunities. We will provide experimental resources and funding for consumables.
The project team will work closely with scientists at AstraZeneca to plan and deliver the projects, with opportunities to access industry expertise and infrastructure where relevant.
Further investment will be sought if the initial feasibility projects achieve positive outcomes.
Joint collaborative funding
We will seek opportunities for joint collaborative funding bids where complementary skills exist within NoWCADD and AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca will be an active participant in these bids, with options to provide cash and in-kind contributions to projects.
Outputs from successfully funded projects will be used to support business cases for investment from AstraZeneca and other sources of funding.
We will also seek opportunities for creating collaborative development partnerships, with AstraZeneca playing a pivotal role in pathways to impact.
We develop new technologies to deliver therapeutic entities to patients more effectively with a view to achieving better health outcomes.
Our core expertise
Our core expertise is in colloidal systems and structures (micelles, vesicles, nanotubes, nanoparticles and microparticles) that enable the precisely controlled release of therapeutic agents, whilst also providing the potential to promote selective accumulation of drugs (small molecules and nucleic acids) in cells and tissues of biological interest (such as solid tumours).
Our experimental facilities
Excellent experimental facilities are at the core of NoWCADD. Our laboratory capabilities are focused on the design, manufacture and testing of drug delivery systems including microparticles, nano-carriers and colloidal matter (nanoparticles, micelles, aggregates, liposomes and soluble polymers).
We specifically focus on their dimensional characterisation in aqueous environments using dynamic and static light scattering, field flow fractionation, laser diffraction, gel permeation chromatography and atomic force microscopy with additional access to technologies for investigating interactions at interfaces.
These facilities are complemented by techniques for the functional characterisation and in-vitro testing of advanced drug delivery systems.
We also have state-of-the-art facilities for polymer, microparticle/nanoparticle synthesis, including several Radleys parallel reactors, a glove box, and an Asia 320 microfluidic station.
Our collaboration with AstraZeneca also means that we have access to staff experienced in the design, development and commercialisation of innovative medicines, offering opportunities to access AstraZeneca's facilities, equipment and infrastructure.
Our recent and current research projects include the following:
- Scalable and reproducible manufacturing methods for advanced drug delivery systems.
- Novel drug delivery applications for chitosan/hyaluronic acid nanoparticles.
- Novel applications of carbon nanotubes in drug delivery.
- Novel uses for hydrogels in the delivery of drugs.
- Development of a novel controlled release pelvic drug delivery system to manage endometriosis.
- New approaches for the manufacture of advanced liposomal formulations.
- Functional carriers for understanding nanoparticle trafficking.
- Preparation of polymeric stealth nanoparticles for tumour targeting.
- Peptide-conjugated nanoparticles as drug delivery vehicles for targeted cancer therapies.
- Exploring the cellular fate of nanoparticle drug delivery with FTIR and Raman microspectroscopy.
- Evaluation of nanoparticles using x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.
- Testing the performance of solid lipid nanoparticles through their Interactions with model cell membranes.
- Impact of homo- and hetero- association of complex molecular nanosized drug delivery systems.
Our recent notable articles and conference publications include:
- Nanomanufacturing through microfluidic-assisted nanoprecipitation: Advanced analytics and structure-activity relationships.
- Effect of macromolecular and microfluidic parameters on particle size and paclitaxel encapsulation.
- Chitosan/hyaluronic acid nanoparticles: rational design revisited for RNA delivery.
- FGFR inhibition: a step forward in the gold standard treatments for endometriosis therapy
- Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibition: a new target for endometriosis therapy.
- An in vivo mouse model for endometriosis to validate the efficacy of new drugs.
Developing the next generation of pharmaceutical scientists
We are increasing our students’ interest in early career science roles in industry through joint delivery of the NoWCADD education initiative with AstraZeneca. This module of additional activities is targeted towards high-achieving students with an interest in industry careers studying our flagship Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) programme.
Enhancing the Master of Pharmacy
Students on Manchester’s four-year Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) course receive an additional programme of education and training that will:
- inspire them to take early career opportunities in industry;
- equip them with the capabilities and knowledge to work in the pharmaceutical sciences.
Our students, along with those from other universities, can engage with practicing industry scientists through industrial visit days, and guest lectures. They receive an initial introduction to the roles of the industrial pharmacist in Year 1, before taking part in visits to AstraZeneca's Macclesfield campus in Years 2 and 3.
Research project supervision and mentorship from industry scientists can provide further support for students considering a role in industry after graduation.
High-performing students with an interest in future industry roles have the opportunity for their final year research projects to be co-supervised by AstraZeneca staff.
We offer a number of NoWCADD prizes to our undergraduate students, with those awarded the ‘Future Industrial Pharmacist’ prize offered project supervision and support from AstraZeneca staff.
This module of activities has driven a significant increase in interest in industry roles. An increasing number of Manchester students and graduates are securing placements and early career roles at AstraZeneca and other industrial organisations.
We will inspire further interest in industry by evolving our MPharm science curriculum and developing new courses focused in the pharmaceutical sciences.
The NoWCADD team comprises more than 30 contributors from both the University and AstraZeneca, with four permanent research roles linked to the Centre.
Professor Jayne Lawrence provides leadership to all aspects of NoWCADD research, whilst also leading technical projects. Jayne is also Head of the Division of Pharmacy and Optometry.
Jayne’s research is focused on the delivery of drugs and biomolecules using colloidal structures and is particularly interested in understanding how molecular structure influences intracellular delivery using a range of analytical techniques.
Enrique is a Postdoctoral Researcher in NoWCADD with responsibility for scientific projects. He has a wide technical expertise in organic/polymer synthesis, standard bioconjugation approaches for polymer/protein modification, as well as surface modification of (bio)materials. He has additional experience in a number of techniques for characterisation of (macro)molecules, colloids and surfaces.
Alice is a NoWCADD Postdoctoral Researcher with a background in the design, characterisation and in-vivo evaluation of nanoparticulate systems. Alice’s experience spans across a range of biological models including multicellular spheroids with projects focused on the exploitation of different strategies to promote the intracellular delivery of nanoparticles.
Yu Lu is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Drug Delivery at The University of Manchester working closely with the NoWCADD team. Yu Lu’s main project is focused on the formulation of drug loaded polymeric nanoparticles using microfluidics and aims to develop improved processes with line of sight to robust manufacture at commercial manufacturing scales.
Interested in collaborating?
Please contact a member of our team to learn more about models for collaboration and joint research:
Jayne Lawrence, NoWCADD Director
Tel: +44 (0)161 275 5594
Dr Marcel de Matas, Programme Manager
Tel: +44 (0)161 306 0603