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Australian nanotechnology firm NanoVentures Australia (NVA) has reached an important milestone in technical development of its pulmonary drug delivery technology.
NVA's predecessor, Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd ("NanoVic") invested nearly $500,000 with Monash University's Micro NanoPhysics Research Laboratory to develop and demonstrate a novel mechanism for generation of liquid aerosol drugs. The proprietary SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) generated mechanism allows fluids to be atomised as precisely controlled droplets, making them ideal for a new generation of inhaler devices. These inhalers are likely to be very low cost, as they require very few moving parts.
Further, the SAW technology means that drugs like insulin can be delivered in fluid droplet form from an inhaler. Previous attempts to deliver insulin from an inhaler have used dry powders, which are more difficult to control, and may cause new issues for certain groups of patients.
Last month, NVA and Monash University filed for the protection of new intellectual property around their proprietary pulmonary drug delivery device. The parties hold the Australian provisional patent application 2009902063 Microfluidics apparatus for the atomisation of a liquid. In particular the team has demonstrated in vitro results with maintenance of insulin structure and function after aerosolisation, and over 70% delivery to the lungs using the test protein insulin.
There has been growing interest in the potential for the systematic delivery of drugs and therapeutic agents (e.g. peptides and proteins) via inhalation. Pulmonary drug delivery is an attractive option compared to oral administration or other invasive delivery techniques, and is particularly suited to a number of frequent-application drugs. The surface acoustic atomisation technology developed by Monash University provides for the controlled generation of aerosol particles, and is ideal for drug delivery to the deep regions of the lungs.
NVA has exclusive rights to the exploitation of the technology for potential applications in the administration of insulin and erythropoietin, as well as for the treatment of Cystic Fibrosis and Multiple Sclerosis.
The delivery device R&D program, led by Associate Professor James Friend at the Monash University Micro NanoPhysics Research Laboratory, commenced in January 2007 and is due for completion in October 2009. Dr Friend is internationally known for his leadership in the application of nanotechnology to medical devices.
About NanoVentures Australia
NVA commercialises nanotechnologies developed by Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd (”NanoVic”), the Victorian Government funded nanotechnology accelerator which operated from 2002 to 2009. NVA has a portfolio of other technologies being positioned for commercial development, in medical therapeutics, diagnostics, advanced materials and water analysis and purification. NVA commercialises nanotechnologies developed by Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd (”NanoVic”), the Victorian Government funded nanotechnology accelerator which operated from 2002 to 2009.
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Dr Michelle Critchley
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