British company Q Chip has upped the stakes in the drug delivery market with its new tailor-made bioencapsulation technology, claiming to improve drug effectiveness, reduce side effects and increase patient acceptance.
Using polymers as drug delivery vehicles has proven to be very demanding because of the difficulties in developing capsules with the desired release rates, achieving product uniformity and quality, maintaining drug stability and scaling up lab-based production technologies.
Q Chip has responded to these challenges with a proprietary microfluidic technology that is modified based on the requirements of an individual therapy or administration route.
The result is a stabilised and immunoisolated drug, demonstrating reliable controlled release and localisation of action at the disease site.
Jo Daniels, Q Chip's chief scientific officer, told In-Pharmatechnologist.com their technique is less wasteful and far more efficient than other traditional polymer approaches and that the cost of the kit is minimal.
"We can control the characteristics of the beed we use and the amount of drug which is dosed and delivered with great consistency," she said.
"You don't have to modify the protein to encapsulate it and you can scale the drug up to commercial volumes."
The microfluidic platform, called Microplant, employs assisted droplet break-up to microspheres from a continuous stream of polymer.
The systems are flexible allowing the encapsulated drug to be added as part of the polymer stream or separately, thus enabling controlled dosing of each microsphere.
The technology has been developed on several platforms using an in-house circuit manufacturing capability to allow the production of spherical polymer capsules.
Therefore, by selecting a desired particle size from sub 100 to 2000 microns, many microfluidic circuits work in parallel to produce monodisperse polymer microcapsules with less than two per cent variation in size.
This efficient process eliminates the waste associated with much wider size distributions from other manufacturing methods.
Because of the repeatable nature of the system, the capsule size distribution is very tight and each production platform allows a different method of capsule production.
These capsules can then be loaded with precise amounts of biological agents, active pharmaceutical compounds and cells for cellular therapies.
They are produced under GMP regulated conditions and can be used for the controlled release of biopharmaceuticals and small molecules, combination products, cell or adjunct therapies and vaccines.
The Cardiff-based company is now focusing its marketing strategy on co-developments with partners who require delivery strategies for product life-cycle extension or new product development.
They are already working on programmes involving Type I diabetes and cancer and are looking for collaborations in areas such as chronic life threatening conditions, combination products and cell therapies.