DSII pioneer in a new field of science
DSII has a new collaboration partner company from a new field of industry: Bayer.
According to Bayer, to stay in the leading position of science and strengthen their expertise they will collaborate even more extensively with various external partners, such as universities and research institutes, in the future. Starting off with the Doctoral School of Industry Innovation is a great stepping stone on that road.
“The dissertation cooperation with the University of Tampere and the doctoral school is fully in line with our strategy. There is excellence in Finland that we can utilize in our operations to ensure scientific leadership globally, developing innovative products and drug delivery technologies and thus building a healthier future for people”, says Manja Ahola, Head of Drug Carrier & Depot Systems.
An easy continuum for the Master’s thesis
DSII student Mari Niemelä started to work on her dissertation in collaboration with Bayer at the beginning of this year. Niemelä’s subject is the production of polymer-based dosage forms by a manufacturing technique called extrusion. In the extrusion process, the polymer-drug mixture is melted and formed into a long strip.
The extruded strip can be used, for example, as a raw material for the manufacture of drug tablets. There are many parameters that affect the end product of extrusion and changing them traditionally relies on strong experimental expertise.
The main goal of Mari's work is to find suitable methods for modeling the process and to verify their functionality through laboratory tests.
“This is a continuum of my Master’s degree in engineering. Modeling has been my thing and Bayer also wanted to deepen their knowledge in that area of expertise, so it is fruitful for everyone”, Niemelä says.
Niemelä finds it particularly beneficial in the business-DSII-university collaboration that there is direct funding for the dissertation for four years, and there is no need to spend time separately applying for scholarships.
Bayer’s footprint in Finland
The research work is done for Bayer’s Research and Development unit in Turku which focuses on the application of the latest scientific advances in the field of pharmaceutics. New modalities and their delivery methods make it possible to provide better medicines, for example in oncology and diseases for which there are currently limited treatment options.
The production facility in Turku is one of Bayer's major global pharmaceutical plants. There they manufacture hormonal coils and contraceptive implants based on polymer-based drug delivery technology. The products are exported to more than 130 countries.
Bayer also has an office in Espoo which is home to one of Bayer's largest global clinical research units. The clinical development unit in Espoo is an operational lead in several of Bayer’s global clinical trials. Pharmaceutical research and development are conducted with an extensive network of collaborators and partners. in Finland and worldwide. Bayer employs about 1,000 people in Finland.
A new scientific opening
Niemelä’s Tampere university Professor Minna Kellomäki says that with Bayer it is about long-lasting cooperation with a company and the university in a new field of science.
“This is a scientific opening to the common realm of medical materials and modeling. This DSII position filled by Mari is the first of its kind in the MET faculty and in terms of medical technology”, Kellomäki mentions.
According to Niemelä’s Bayer supervisor Tero Jalkanen, the co-operation has started off smoothly.
“The contracts and other practical matters have been handled without any problems and the research work itself has started on schedule. The first feeling about this collaboration is really positive.”
Since Bayer had already started cooperating during Niemelä's master’s thesis, the threshold to jump into the dissertation project was not too big. The thesis had shown that the cooperation works smoothly, and things were moving forward.
“This has also been an easy way to expand our network”, says Jalkanen.
In this light of a successful beginning, Bayer would also be ready to consider starting DSII-collaboration also with other students too.
“If a topic suitable for a dissertation researcher is encountered, this is certainly a viable option, as the experiences so far are only positive”, Jalkanen says.