Stevenage scientist's award for role in new HIV drugs

Stevenage scientist Erin Maciejewski in a laboratory

Erin says it was an amazing surprise to find out she had won - Credit: Royal Society of Chemistry

A Stevenage scientist has received an award for her notable contributions to the process development of two novel HIV drugs.

Erin Maciejewski is an apprentice at GlaxoSmithKline on Gunnels Wood Road and has been named Chemical Sciences Apprentice of the Year in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s awards, which recognise excellence in the chemical sciences.

As well as significant contributions to the process development of two HIV drugs, Erin has also been recognised for delivering inclusion and diversity programmes and leadership development activities.

She said: "I was completely surprised to find out I’d won. When the email first came through I thought it was a phishing simulation. It was such a surreal moment, but an amazing surprise.

"To receive such an accolade is truly a testament to the incredible training, support and guidance I’ve been given by each of my mentors and colleagues.”

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Erin works within chemical development - a multi-functional department at GSK that consists of expertise from chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science groups. The department allows the scale up of new drug candidates from the milligram scale to the multi-kilogram scale. This process allows enough drug to be manufactured so tablets can be pressed and doctors can prescribe the new drug to patients.

Stevenage scientist Erin Maciejewski in a laboratory

Stevenage scientist Erin Maciejewski praised the support she has received from GSK colleagues and mentors - Credit: Royal Society of Chemistry

Erin's role as a process chemist involves working with mentors and colleagues to develop and optimise reaction processes in order to take the process from milligrams to multi-kilograms while improving the reaction methodology, drug quality and robustness. All of this work allows for eventual transfer and use in manufacturing plants to produce tonnes of material for formulation into the final drug product that patients are prescribed.

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Doctor Helen Pain, chief executive of the Royal Society of Chemistry, said: “From developing vaccines for COVID-19 to continuing to work towards a more sustainable world, the contribution of chemical scientists has never been more tangible or important.

“Erin's work is a prime example of what we are so passionate about and we are proud to recognise her contribution with this prize.”

Erin will receive £1,000 and a trophy.

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