Sterling to join cross-disciplinary partnership to advance AI flow chemistry techniques

31st May 2023

Sterling Pharma Solutions has been invited to join a consortium of leading industrial innovators from across the chemical industry supply chain to accelerate the use of continuous manufacturing in a range of industries, with digitalisation at its core.

The partnership, led by Imperial College London and BASF, has a value of £17.8m including funding from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), to pool resources from experts across the chemical industry to research and design new artificial intelligence (AI) led processes and production techniques.

As a pharmaceutical representative on the advisory board, Sterling will host PhD students, provide access to manufacturing equipment, take part in process development and then scale up the new techniques in the company’s Centre of Excellence for Flow Chemistry at its Cramlington, UK site.

The partnership, known as Innovative Continuous Manufacturing of Industrial Chemicals (IConIC) also includes the Centre for Process Innovation, Mettler Toledo Autochem, Siemens Process Systems Engineering, AM Technology and Almac.

Mark Muldowney, Head of Technology and Innovation, at Sterling, said: “Whilst we have been manufacturing using continuous processing techniques for some time, this partnership will take this to the next level using advanced engineering and digital technologies from not only world leading research and data science institutions, but also the full value chain in the industry.

“Optimising science and digital capabilities from across the UK is an exciting prospect, and is of course experience we can then pass on to our customers, as we move through the research into scale up and commercial manufacture.”

Professor Ian Walmsley, Provost of Imperial, added: “We’re delighted to have brought together this outstanding consortium. By combining the sector-specific knowledge of leading industrial innovators from across the chemical value chain with Imperial’s world-leading research capabilities in chemistry, engineering, and computing, the partnership will help create important advances in industrial chemistry. In turn it will support the UK government’s industrial strategy and help create a more productive, resilient, and sustainable chemical sector.”

The partnership will start on 1st July 2023, and is expected to last for five years, with the aim of making the UK chemical industry more resilient to challenges such as supply chain security, sustainable manufacturing and automation, by developing innovative novel production processes for the future.

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