Researchers at the University of Limerick (UL) have partnered with Enterprise Ireland (EI) to commercialise a new technology that is claimed have the potential to transform the global pharmaceutical market.
The new continuous nano-manufacturing technology is being developed to address drug solubility issues, which are considered a huge challenge for the industry.
According to the researchers, seven out of ten newly developed drugs fail to reach patients as they are not soluble enough for absorption in the body.
In order to address this issue, UL Bernal Institute industrial biochemistry lecturer Dr Luis Padrela and his team turned to nanotechnology.
Dr Padrela said: “When poorly soluble drugs are produced at microscopic levels, or nanoparticles, they dissolve much more easily and can be targeted more effectively at disease.
“However, the manufacture of these nanotech drugs on a commercial scale remains a major challenge. That is the problem that we intend to solve.”
The team is working on the development of continuous scalable methods for manufacturing drug at the nano-level. This is intended to generate fast-working medicines that will deliver significant benefit to patients.
They have received about €500k from EI’s Commercialisation Fund Programme for the commercialisation project of their new nanotechnology.
Set to be carried out over duration of two years, the project will establish a technology-based start-up or spin-out by the end of its term.
The nanotechnology is further expected to improve revenues of Irish pharmaceutical firms, increase the country’s competitiveness, as well as its position as a manufacturing location.