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Free-Flowing Innovation

Interest in more advanced drug delivery systems has increased in line with the acceleration in the discovery and development of novel therapeutic macromolecules for targeted applications. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a design tool that allows designers of these and other products to evaluate different designs rapidly and cost-effectively.

The use of CFD within the pharmaceutical industry has increased in recent years. Its application to the development of a new drug offers significant benefits in terms of yielding reduced costs, faster time to market, an improved understanding of existing or novel innovations, and the knowledge to make informed decisions to help guide and shape the direction of future research efforts.

These benefits are of particular significance in the search for an effective delivery system for a new drug – an issue that has become more pertinent in light of the recent moves away from needle- and syringe-based injection methods. Traditionally, animal experimentation has been used to evaluate drug delivery systems, but the results are not seen as sufficiently reliable when transposed to humans, whose respiratory physiology, for example, can differ greatly. This often leads to dramatically varying doses being realised from the same initial sample, making useful comparisons problematic.

In addition, an obligation exists under law to minimise experimentation on animals, placing restrictions on the level of testing that can be conducted. CFD can help overcome some of these issues, by allowing for the rapid and economic analysis of various drug delivery designs, using a three-dimensional model of human physiology.


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Stephen Grant of ANSYS is an engineer with a degree in Manufacturing Systems. He has spent much of his career working in large scale production and manufacture in the automotive industry. He moved into a commercial role as a Systems Integrator looking after a broad range of industries from automotive and defence through to pharmaceutical. Stephen is now responsible for ANSYS’s development and growth in the healthcare sector across the UK.
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