Cardiff-based drug delivery company Q Chip has extended its collaborative research deal with Biocompatibles International, a medical device company focused on the treatment of cardiovascular disease, cancer and benign tumours.
The original research deal, signed in late 2004, provided for the development and trial of bespoke prototype Q Chip MicroPlants; but following testing of the equipment, Biocompatibles has requested further development and installation of a unit at its facilities in Farnham, UK.
The MicroPlant platform uses Q Chip's microfluidic technology and enables the production of commercial volumes of uniform, loaded microcapsules using a wide range of biocompatible polymers.
The original deal, signed in December last year, saw Q Chip receive a combination of fees and milestone payments. In addition Biocompatibles received exclusive rights to Q Chips' intellectual property portfolio for certain applications for the duration of the research project.
Q Chip's business development director, Dr Jo Daniels, said: "Current methods of manufacturing polymer microcapsules produce a wide size distribution, resulting in post-processing to select a particular size rang. This can be expensive and also wasteful if the product sales mix doesn't match the process output."
"As an example, a typical size distribution using an emulsion polymerisation process can cover 1-1000 microns. Furthermore, the harsh processing environments required for some of these techniques can have a detrimental effect on particle integrity, and as a result, are incompatible with applications involving delicate substrates, such as live cells," he added.
In response to these limitations Q Chip has developed a MicroPlant for the production of highly uniform polymer microcapsules using proprietary microfluidic technology. Incorporating microfluidics allows the sophisticated control of chemical reactions, not achievable in conventional bulk reaction vessels.
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 5 per cent variation in size. This efficient process eliminates the waste associated with much wider size distributions from other manufacturing methods.