Research Tackles Sustainability in North-East Pharmaceutical Industry

Article excerpt

An exciting new research study at the University of Sunderland ( led by Sunderland Business School lecturer Tom Cuthbertson ( will focus on the North-East pharmaceutical industry and strategies for its future sustainability and development.

This research study will bring together a team of experts which will, hopefully, benefit from a synergistic relationship between the pharmaceutical industry contacts of the University's School of Health, Natural and Social Sciences and the business acumen of Tom and his colleagues within Sunderland Business School.

Pharmacy at the University of Sunderland has long been a nationally-recognised strength of the institution, with a strong tradition in teaching. Today, the University is the sole provider of undergraduate pharmacy degree programmes in the North-East.

The popular MPharm programme is underpinned by a range of BSc programmes in the School, including chemical and pharmaceutical science, pharmacology and biomedical sciences.

The School also offers a number of taught postgraduate programmes, including the Overseas Pharmacists Assessment Programme ( on behalf of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain ( Clinical Pharmacy, Chronic Disease Management and Enterprise in Biosciences.

Research in the School in pharmaceutical science plays an important role, its quality being recognised through direct funding by major pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Servier and Stiefel Laboratories.

Similarly, teaching in pharmaceutical subjects is taking on an international perspective. Rapidly-growing distance-learning and collaborative projects in South-East Asia will be brought together under the soon-to-be created Sunderland International Pharmacy School.

Regional Perspective

IMPORTANTLY though, in keeping with the university's aspirations to be a "civic university", there is still a strong emphasis on the North-East region.

Adding to traditional pharmacy links with local hospitals and pharmaceutical society branches, industrial placements on the BSc Chemical & Pharmaceutical Science (CPS) course are now almost exclusively, as a result of student demand, with regional pharmaceutical sites and companies involved in activities which support the pharmaceutical industry. Arising out of this distinctive vocational course is the new CPS Foundation Degree (see http://soolin.sunderland.ac.uk/ fdcps/index.html), developed within a virtual learning environment, enabling it to be delivered directly to students in their home or workplace. This programme is aimed at laboratory and plant-based workers, starting off with the local market in the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors.

ChemiSPEC ( Structure Elucidation Services

THE University of Sunderland is positioned at the forefront of chemical structure elucidation. ChemiSPEC provides a state-of-the-art facility offering a range of pharmaceutical, fine chemical and material analysis techniques and is well-established as a supporter of local SMEs.

More recently, as a result of support from One NorthEast and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), it has been possible to offer assistance in nanotechnology to regional companies.

The region's nanotechnology capacity has been enhanced in the most effective way via the spin-out of two companies from the research of Professor Fred Rowell. Analytical Nanotechnologies Ltd (ANT) offers novel nanotechnology-based products for environmental monitoring, for example, targeting airborne enzymes in the workplace. ROAR Ltd, on the other hand, has been created to exploit forensic applications of nanoparticle-based technology. …