Chemical Engineering as applied to Medicine was a one-day forum meeting I attended in Paris, 5th of December 2022. My main conclusion of the 11 presentations from industry and academia is that chemical engineering methods and practices are now researched in many academic groups and are integrated in the industry, to rapidly find new medicines for specific deceases. The companies call this integration, Quantitative System Pharmacology (QSP).

The methods applied are

  1. Chemical reaction engineering concepts and models to generate medicine options
  2. Designing, constructing, and testing with physical analogues using chemical engineering principles such as hydrodynamics, mass transfer and reaction.

The physical analogue can contain an analogue of the human body, such as the lungs, and contain the medicine admission technique, such as an inhaler. With such an experimental set-up both the medicine, its formulation, and the inhaler can be optimized. This new way of working facilitates rapidly finding new medicines and also reduces animal testing programs.

Cesar Pichardo of Astra Zeneca and Roberto Abbiati of Boehringer Ingelheim, presented  details of their QSP method. They also mentioned that regulator bodies, such as the FDA,  favor QSP.

The European Federation of Chemical Engineers (EFCE) organized this event and is considering forming a Section: Chemical Engineering as applied to Medicine. Given the large number of academic groups in Europe researching this field and the pharma companies applying this integration of chemical engineering and medicine discovery and development it is likely that this section will start soon.

Here is the list of  Presentations:

  • Marc-Olivier Coppens, UCL, London, A nature-inspired chemical engineering approach for innovation in biochemical and healthcare technology.
  • Alain Bergel, U. Toulouse, Electric field and electron transfers at the core of cell life.
  • David Manca, Politecnico Milan, Different approaches to epidemic modelling – The Covid-19 case study.
  • Jesu Santamaria, U. Zaragoza, A new perspective in oncology: The tumor as a chemical reactor. Developing catalysts capable of working within the tumor microenvironment.
  • Arkadiusz Kuczaj, Philip Morris Products, Switzerland, Challenges in accurate  aerosol inhalation dosimetry predictions: interplay of chemistry, physics and biology.
  • Grazia de Angelis, U. Edinburgh, A chemical engineering approach to the wearable artificial kidney.
  • Christelle Crampon, U. Aix-Marseille, Supercritical fluid technology applied to sustainable drug processing and medical device development.
  • Guillaume Rousseau, Erypharm, Marseille, An optimized perfusion process paves the way for the industrial production of cultured red blood cells.
  • Roberto Abbiati, Boehringer Ingelheim, From process systems engineering to systems pharmacology: how chemical engineering approaches are impacting drug development.
  • Cesar Pichardo, Astra Zenica, Applications of Systems pharmacology in model-informed drug development.
  • Tomasz Sosnowski, U. Warsaw, Inhaler development using ChemE approach.