Health: Taking nanopharmaceuticals from the lab to clinics

Article by Amanda Jasi

Amanda Jasi spoke to Camden Cutright and Nazende Günday-Türeli on the challenges involved in developing nanopharmaceutical technologies

NANOPHARMACEUTICALS is a rapidly-growing sector within the wider pharmaceutical industry, with interest sparked by the ability to create drugs that can last longer in the body, are better absorbed, and can even be delivered in a targeted manner. However, these novel products face challenges that present hurdles to their appearance on the market.

The Chemical Engineer spoke to Camden Cutright and Nazende Günday-Türeli about the challenges involved in developing nanopharmaceutical technologies and the role their organisations play in overcoming them.

Packaging product

Cutright is the Business Development Director at Micropore Technologies, which began with the development of novel emulsification technology for microsphere formulation and has recently expanded to include encapsulation technology at the nanoscale. Cutright said that Micropore works in organic and polymer nanoparticles, which tend to be on the “drug product side”, while inorganic classes, “things like iron oxides, metallic nanoparticles, quantum dots, they tend to be used more in diagnostics [as] they have some interesting properties for detection”.

He focused discussion on lipid-based nanoparticles. He said that the type of nanoformulations popular these days are made by taking organic material, “your lipids”, and dissolving them in an organic solvent, “usually ethanol”, while you add your drug product, “like RNA”, inside of a water phase. “When you bring those two together, the ethanol and water will mix and the lipids…they will self-assemble into their nanostructures and uptake the RNA in the process.”

While this is a shared concept, Cutright explained how Micropore’s novel technology overcomes engineering challenges associated with the scaleup of conventional alternatives.

Artist’s impression of a liposome

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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