Published on 26/08/2021
Woman holding tablets
  • Aston University secures Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Catalent
  • Pharmacy researchers to assist in the development of technology for orally disintegrating tablets
  • The Zydis® technology assists with correct levels of absorption of medication for patients  

Aston University researchers based in the College of Health and Life Sciences have been awarded a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project by Innovate UK, to bring its academic and scientific expertise to assist Catalent in the development of its Zydis® technology, the leading orally disintegrating tablet (ODT). 

The Zydis ODT fast-dissolve formulation is a unique, freeze-dried oral solid dosage form that disperses almost instantly in the mouth with no water required. It helps delivering treatments to patients and consumers who have difficulty swallowing conventional pills, or where rapid onset of action is desirable.

The aim of the KTP partnership is to develop and prove an accurate predictive decision-making tool to pre-determine accurate levels of absorption enhancer for each Zydis product, potentially facilitating faster pharmaceutical development, improving efficiency, and reducing time to market.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a KTP Associate. The UK-wide programme helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is the leading KTP provider within the Midlands.

Academic lead on the project is Professor Afzal Mohammed, who is also chair in Pharmacy in the College of Health & Life Sciences (HLS) and a member of the Aston Pharmaceutics Group (APG) at Aston University.

Afzal said: “This is a great opportunity for us to share and translate our academic experience in cell based models, excipient and formulation characterisation to develop an evidence based predictive tool that has the potential to expedite product development at Catalent.”

Ralph Gosden, head of Zydis product development at Catalent, added: 

"We are excited to be working with Aston University on this project. Their expertise in drug transportation, cell biology, data analysis and model cell line design, coupled with its world-class facilities means that together, we will be able to achieve significant improvements in efficiency, and accelerate new product development.”

Professor Mohammed will be supported by other colleagues from the Aston Pharmaceutics Group, including, Dr Dan Kirby, who has experience in drug delivery and improving patient acceptability of dosage forms gained through original research; Dr Affiong Iyire who has research expertise in the formulation of drugs for pre-gastric absorption and innovative cell models; and Dr Raj Badhan, who is a pharmacokinetics expert with vast knowledge of in silico methods.

The outcomes of the project will be integrated into Aston University’s curriculum through teaching case studies, thereby developing well equipped graduates.

For more information about studying pharmacy at Aston University, please visit our website.

Notes to editors

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44)7557 745416 or email:

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston University was named University of the Year 2020 by The Guardian and the University’s full time MBA programme has been ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking. The Aston MBA has been ranked 12th in the UK and 85th in the world.

About Catalent

Catalent is the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies, development, and manufacturing solutions for drugs, biologics, cell and gene therapies, and consumer health products. The company is at the heart of the fight against the global pandemic being involved the development, manufacture and packaging of multiple vaccines to combat COVID-19.

With over 85 years serving the industry, Catalent has proven expertise in bringing more customer products to market faster, enhancing product performance and ensuring reliable global clinical and commercial product supply.

Catalent employs approximately 15,000 people, including around 2,500 scientists and technicians, at more than 45 facilities, and in fiscal year 2020 generated $3 billion in annual revenue. Catalent is headquartered in Somerset, New Jersey. For more information, visit

More products. Better treatments. Reliably supplied.™

This project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.


Sue Smith, Head of Press and Communications
    0121 204 3521

Sam Cook, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5065

Rebecca Hume, Press and Communications Manager
    0121 204 5159

Alternatively, email

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