Steve Wicks

Professor Stephen Wicks BPharm Hons, PhD, FRPharmS

Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Key details

Professor Stephen R Wicks

Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Professor Stephen Wicks is an Emeritus Professor of Pharmaceutical Science in the Faculty of Engineering and Science and an industrial pharmacist with interests in the application of scientific principles to the design and production of medicines for humans and animals. 

He completed a PhD at the University of Bath investigating the mathematics of the diffusion of drugs in polymer and active carbon composites to quantify the performance of 'artificial liver' devices. After post-doctoral teaching appointments at the University of Bath and Liverpool John Moores University, Professor Wicks joined GlaxoSmithKline and then Abbott Laboratories as a formulation scientist. Moving to Pfizer in 1986, Professor Wicks' interests broadened and at the end of his career with the company held positions as Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development Science and Technology with Pfizer Inc., with responsibility for over 800 scientists in the UK and the US, and Science Director on the board of Pfizer UK Group Ltd.

With Professors John Mitchell and Martin Snowden, Professor Wicks created the Medway Postdoctoral Scheme at the University of Greenwich, a training centre for early career pharmaceutical scientists with potential as industrial leaders. Professor Wicks' interest in academic pharmaceutical sciences broadened with the creation and directorship of other doctoral training partnerships, e.g. the Pfizer Institute of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, and the Pfizer Analytical Research Centres at the Universities of Gent, Belgium and Tasmania, Australia.

Professor Wicks is Visiting Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Bath and is an Honorary Fellow of the University College London School of Pharmacy. His contribution to the development of pharmaceutical sciences in the UK has been recognised with the award of fellowships of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Great Britain. He is chair of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society Scientific Expert Advisory Panel and a member of the Advisory Board of the Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences of Great Britain.

Responsibilities within the university

Course participation

  • Pharmaceutics and Formulation.


  • Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society

Research / Scholarly interests

It is essential that the materials and manufacturing processes used to produce medicines are safe, effective and economical; manufacturing controls must also be effective and relevant to the safeguarding of patients. With Professors John Mitchell and Martin Snowden, Professor Wicks has created the Medway Centre for Pharmaceutical Sciences to promote excellence in the design and manufacture of complex medicines for use in human and animal patients.

Current research activities include the manufacture and characterisation of cyclodextrins for use as drug carriers in solid oral and injectable liquid formulations. Cyclodextrins are complex cyclic sugar macromolecules that can associate with drugs in solution to increase solubility and chemical stability in pharmaceutical formulations. This research seeks to develop novel manufacturing processes for the preparation of cyclodextrins and drug-cyclodextrin complexes with the capability to produce new formulation aids with greater efficiency and a much lower environmental impact.

Manufacturing performance is assessed using an array of advanced analytical tools including: capillary electrophoresis, mass spectrometry, solid-state and liquid state NMR, high performance liquid chromatography, scanning electron microscopy and gas liquid chromatography. A joint research programme with Curadev, India, involves the creation of novel cyclodextrin molecules using advanced manufacturing techniques.

Other research partnerships include the design of economic, long-acting veterinary formulations for the Global Alliance for Livestock Veterinary Medicines (GALVmed). GALVmed is a not-for-profit organisation supported by the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dedicated to protecting animals in developing countries by making medicines accessible and affordable to the millions for whom livestock is a lifeline. Research partnerships also exist with the Merck Group, Germany, enhancing the performance of medicines in emerging markets, and Sigmoid Pharma, Ireland, studying efficient manufacturing processes for the production of advanced drug delivery systems.

Professor Wicks is involved in the design and supervision of PhD and MSc student projects for the Formulation and Pharmaceutical Sciences programmes. Professor Wicks delivers external lectures and workshops on advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing philosophies to senior executives in the EU pharmaceutical industry in partnership with the World Trade Group, UK and the European Compliance Academy, Germany.


  • Patents have been filed in (2013) describing the manufacture of advanced derivitised cyclodextrins molecules.

Recent publications


Mitchell, John , Wicks, Stephen, Trivedi, Vivek, Waters, Laura , Ehiwe, Tammy (2015), Continuous tank reactor synthesis of highly substituted sulphobutylether β-cyclodextrins. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 495 (2) . pp. 862-868 ISSN: 0378-5173 (Print), 1873-3476 (Online) (doi:

Rudrangi, Shashi Ravi Suman , Trivedi, Vivek, Mitchell, John C., Wicks, Stephen Richard , Alexander, Bruce David (2015), Preparation of olanzapine and methyl-β-cyclodextrin complexes using a single-step, organic solvent-free supercritical fluid process: An approach to enhance the solubility and dissolution properties. Elsevier. In: , , , . Elsevier, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 494 (1) . pp. 408-416 ISSN: 0378-5173 (Print), 1873-3476 (Online) (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Rudrangi, Shashi Ravi Suman , Bhomia, Ruchir, Trivedi, Vivek, Vine, George J. , Mitchell, John C. , Alexander, Bruce David , Wicks, Stephen Richard (2015), Influence of the preparation method on the physicochemical properties of indomethacin and methyl-β-cyclodextrin complexes. Elsevier B.V.. In: , , , . Elsevier B.V., International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 479 (2) . pp. 381-390 ISSN: 0378-5173 (Print), 1873-3476 (Online) (doi: NB Item availability restricted.


Mitchell, John , Wicks, Stephen, Savage, Tammy (2016), US20160024229A1 Cyclodextrin. In: , , , . , (doi: NB Item availability restricted.

Mitchell, John and , Wicks, Stephen (2015), WO2015008066A1: Cyclodextrin US 20150025023 A1. In: , , , . , (doi: