7 February 2022

Professor Craig Murdoch and Dr Helen Colley awarded £530,000 to develop in silico models of oromucosal drug delivery

"This pioneering collaboration will reduce the use of animals in research while moving the field towards therapeutic translation for patient benefit.”

Oromucosal drug delivery

Professor Craig Murdoch and Dr Helen Colley (School of Clinical Dentistry) in collaboration with Professor Rachel Bearon (University of Liverpool) have been awarded £530,000 by the NC3Rs to develop in silico models of oromucosal drug delivery.

There is increasing interest in delivering drugs through the mucosa that lines the oral cavity both to treat oral disease and as an alternative to tablets or injections. However, this has led to an increase in the number of animals used to study the development of new drug formulations and new modes of drug delivery. The project aims to use experimental data generated from laboratory-produced tissue engineered oral mucosal equivalents along with human tissue to create a virtual in silico model of oral tissue. Through running computer simulations, the in silico model will allow various parameters to be tested such as amount of drug required to achieve a therapeutic dose, rates of drug absorption, distribution and clearance in order to optimise drug delivery, thereby replacing the use of animals currently used for these studies.

The project is being supported by AFYX Therapeutics, a leading manufacturer of oral mucosal patches for oromucosal drug delivery. 

Professor Paul Hatton, Director for Research at the School of Clinical Dentistry, commented: “Delivery of therapeutic agents across the oral mucosa offers huge potential for both rapid effect and avoiding the destructive environment of the gastrointestinal tract. This pioneering collaboration will reduce the use of animals in research while moving the field towards therapeutic translation for patient benefit.”