The money has been awarded to ARTICULAR, a project led by the University of Strathclyde and EPSRC-funded Future Manufacturing Research Hub in Continuous Manufacturing and Advanced Crystallisation (CMAC) with the Glasgow School of Art’s School of Simulation and Visualisation (SimVis) heading all the augmented reality/virtual reality elements. The research team also includes Loughborough University and leading Silicon Valley company, DAQRI, along with the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre, Booth Welsh, Perceptive Engineering Ltd. and Siemens.
ARTICULAR is one of seven projects around the UK which will share £11.4 million of investment from EPSRC. It will exploit advances in digital technology to help reduce the time it takes to get new drugs to market by harnessing the potential of large data sets and machine learning – techniques which enable computers to progressively improve performance on a specific task.
It is currently difficult to avoid ‘starting at the beginning’ for every new drug that needs to be manufactured but new medicines are currently doubling in cost every nine years. ARTICULAR seeks to develop novel machine learning approaches that learn from past and present manufacturing data to create new knowledge that aids in crucial manufacturing decisions and lead to higher quality medicines for patients. Digital tools will be created to make the design and manufacture of new medicines as efficient as possible, thus helping to reduce the costs of bringing the medicines to patients.
The research project will start in July 2018 and last four years.
Principal investigator for ARTICULAR, Dr Blair Johnston, reader at Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, said: “The University of Strathclyde is pleased to be continuing its successful collaborations with The Glasgow School of Art and Loughborough University. Our partners will bring world-class, wide-ranging expertise to the ARTICULAR project to realise a data-driven, machine learning future for medicine development and manufacturing.
“CMAC is a leader in the research and development of new methodologies and processes for the manufacture of medicines and the ARTICULAR project will help us to achieve these goals by integrating state-of-the-art computational methods and data visualisation approaches to further enhance development and the availability of high-quality treatments for any number of diseases.
“The use of advanced data analytics is now commonplace in numerous other sectors and we look forward to developing and demonstrating these applications with pharmaceutical industry partners over the coming years.”
Paul Chapman, head of GSA SimVis, said: “The School of Simulation and Visualisation (SimVis) is delighted to be continuing its successful collaborations with the University of Strathclyde and their world-class future manufacturing hub for research and training at CMAC.Within the ARTICULAR project, SimVis will lead on the development of bespoke virtual and augmented reality tools which will improve our understanding of complex pharmaceutical manufacturing processes and data.
“Using our unique AR/VR tools coupled with Daqri Smart Glasses and HTC Vives, we will add data-rich interactive visualisations to help researchers in their work, including providing a real-time virtual walk through of their laboratories. This award again recognises SimVis as a leader in the field of immersive environments and demonstrates our creativity in combining the arts and sciences.”