UNILAG Pharmacy Faculty, King’s College London Partner on New Initiatives

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Participants at the workshop

The Acting Head of Department, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Dr (Mrs) Margaret Ilomuanya, recently welcomed a team from King’s College London. The purpose of the meeting was to initiate discussions on King’s College – UNILAG Research Collaboration.

Leading the visitors on a media tour of the recently commissioned Med-Africa GMP Laboratory domiciled in the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos, Ilomuanya said: “This meeting aims to strengthen the manufacturing capabilities between the UK and Nigeria, fostering partnerships that leverage the strengths of both nations in pharmaceutical manufacturing.”

On tour of the facility, she was accompanied by Dr Bahijja Raimi-Abraham and Dr Godwin Aleku, both from King’s College London. Other dignitaries on the facility tour were the Managing Director of NSIA Healthcare Development & Investment Company (NHDIC), Dr Tolulope Adewole, Prof. Samson Adeosun of the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Lagos and Dr Ibilola Mary Cardoso-Daodu of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Engineering, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lagos.

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“Findings from this event will be further discussed in the UK-Nigeria Bilateral Knowledge Exchange in Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Workshop on the 17 July, 2024 at King’s College London, UK.

“This collaboration also fits into President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s signed executive bill that removes taxes on imported pharmaceutical inputs. The president's decision is expected to lower production costs, making essential medicines more affordable for Nigerians,” she said.

On the sustainability of the MED-Africa GMP Laboratory, Ilomuanya added that the project is open to collaboration from both pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and regulatory agencies. She said pharmaceutical companies can go into small scale manufacturing contracts with the facility while large scale manufacturing can also happen in future with more funding.

Also harping on the need for academia-industry synergy, Ilomuanya said the Nigerian pharmaceutical sector stands to reap a lot of gains as there would be translational research that would automatically result to cutting-edge products.

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“The bedrock of innovation lies in the academia. If we are able to have a cohesive academia-industry leverage, we should be able to have translational research which means that what we do that is domiciled on the shelves can move to a pilot manufacturing plant like what we have here in MED-Africa GMP laboratory.

“And where we have proven that we can manufacture on a smaller scale, we can then take that technology to a larger scale and this is where big pharmaceutical companies now get involved. This means that we can develop home-grown solutions through the innovation-academia pathway direct to the industry. It also means that we would be able to have products developed within our university system and made available for Nigerians to use,” she said.

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Meanwhile on Tuesday 2 July, there was a workshop titled “Multifaceted approaches to tackling antimicrobial resistance (AMR).” The workshop – a joint interactive session between King's College London and the University of Lagos (funded by the King’s College London Global Partnership Fund) addressed key challenges in AMR through multifaceted, collaborative, and innovative strategies.

In attendance were postgraduate students i.e. Masters, PhD researchers, post- doctoral researchers and early career scientists in Microbiology, Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Materials Science Engineering and Biomedical Engineering.

Reiterating the significance of the collaboration, Ilomuanya added: “This initiative is funded by the 2024 King’s College London Global Partnership Fund, which supports international collaboration and the development of new initiatives.

“The fund enables King’s College London academic staff from all disciplines and levels to work together with international partners, promoting global engagement and the exchange of knowledge”, she stated.

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