Published on 06/02/2024
Tablets and capsules
  • Quest Pharm is a UK-based pharmaceutical company that manufactures medicines in niche therapy areas
  • One such area is severe mouth ulceration in chemotherapy patients
  • The Knowledge Transfer Partnership combined expertise to formulate a new product that will help patients overcome painful side effects.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) between UK pharmaceutical company Quest Pharm and Aston University has developed a world-first tablet to treat the serious mouth ulcerations caused by high-dose chemotherapy.

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as 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.

Quest Pharm reformulates, manufactures and distributes medicines in niche therapy areas to meet specific patient needs. Its focus is to develop formulations where no suitable approved medicines exist.

One such niche therapy area is severe mouth ulceration in chemotherapy patients, which is very painful and makes it uncomfortable for many cancer patients to eat and drink.

Quest Pharm’s KTP with Aston University aimed to develop a way of formulating the first commercially available oral tablet to both protect the damaged mucus membrane and speed up the natural regeneration of damaged tissue within the mouth.

Aston University’s recent research in developing and optimising novel formulations for tablets that disintegrate in the mouth enabled Quest Pharm to develop a formulation for a product that remains intact in the packaging, dissolves and disperses rapidly after making contact with saliva and sticks to the mucosal lining of the mouth while allowing mucus to pass through. It contains natural products already licensed for use in humans, accelerating development and the route to market.

Majad Hussain, director of Quest Pharm, said:

“Combining the expertise and resources of both the KTP associate and Aston University, we have been able to rapidly develop two commercially viable medicinal products that will help chemotherapy patients overcome the painfully limiting effects of mucositis. Tapping into Aston University’s research expertise in this area is fundamental to getting this project off the ground, and means that our unique products are now ready to take forwards into clinical trials.”

Professor Afzal-Ur-Rahman Mohammed at Aston Pharmacy School, Aston University, said:

“The KTP has shown us how the research we do and the problems we are working on can translate into a beneficial product that can make a big difference to patients. The addition of a knowledgeable KTP Associate who can bridge both the academic and industry sides of this project has been key to its success.”

Visit the Quest Pharm KTP webpage to learn more.

Notes to editors

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

Watch our short film to see how it works and visit our website for examples of KTP in action at Aston.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email or call 0121 204 4242


About Aston University

For over a century, Aston University’s enduring purpose has been to make our world a better place through education, research and innovation, by enabling our students to succeed in work and life, and by supporting our communities to thrive economically, socially and culturally.

Aston University’s history has been intertwined with the history of Birmingham, a remarkable city that once was the heartland of the Industrial Revolution and the manufacturing powerhouse of the world.

Born out of the First Industrial Revolution, Aston University has a proud and distinct heritage dating back to our formation as the School of Metallurgy in 1875, the first UK College of Technology in 1951, gaining university status by Royal Charter in 1966, and becoming the Guardian University of the Year in 2020.

Building on our outstanding past, we are now defining our place and role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and beyond) within a rapidly changing world.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, contact Helen Tunnicliffe, Press and Communications Manager, on (+44) 7827 090240 or email:

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Sue Smith,
Head of Press and Communications


Sam Cook,
Press and Communications Manager


Nicola Jones,
Press and Communications Manager


Helen Tunnicliffe,
Press and Communications Manager


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