UK company Biocompatibles has teamed up with a microfluidics specialist Q Chip to develop a system to improve the manufacture of microspheres used in drug delivery and medical devices.
Biocompatibles has developed a range of products based on microspheres, targeting areas such as the treatment of cancer. One such product, Bead Block, is already on the market as an embolisation therapy for solid tumours. This is injected into selected vessels to block the blood flow feeding the cancer, causing it to shrink over time.
The company is moving ahead to develop microspheres that not only block blood vessels supplying tumours, but also deliver a payload of chemotherapeutic drugs. A pivotal trial of Biocpmpatibles' lead drug-eluting microsphere, delivering the drug doxorubicin, started in 2003.
The aim of the Q Chip collaboration is to develop a novel microfluidic device for the production of Biocompatibles' next generation microspheres, made with increased efficiency and less wastage, according to Peter Stratford, Biocompatibles' managing director, drug delivery.
Q Chip's microfluidic engineering technology enables the development and production of monodisperse, uniformly shaped microparticles, using micron-scale capillaries etched in bioinert wafers, operated in large parallel arrays to enable high throughput.
Under the terms of the agreement Q Chip will receive a combination of fees and milestone payments. In addition Biocompatibles will have exclusive rights to Q Chips' intellectual property portfolio for certain applications for the duration of the research project.