The deal has been 18 months in the making while Prosonix established which pharmaceutical substrates the Rafael technology could be applied to, but the exclusive license, announced this week at the Informex trade show in New Orleans, will add to the British firm's arsenal of ultrasonic technologies. Prosonix applies its range of sonocrystallisation processes and reactor technology to allow control of crystal size, shape, purity and the selective production of polymorphs to enable enhanced manufacturing productivity and formulation performance. The company has successfully demonstrated the Rafael process technology on a range of active pharmaceutical ingredients and key excipients using its proprietary Prosonitron ultrasonic reactors. Although Rafael was established as part of Israel's Ministry of Defence and its primary commercial activities are in the defence sector, the company has worked with a number of Israeli drug companies applying its ultrasonic technology to create more rounded molecules for use in pharmaceutical formulations.
"The [Rafael] ultrasound technology gives particles that have some very interesting properties," Prosonix chief technical officer, Graham Ruecroft, told in-PharmaTechnologist.com. "It allows modification of particles to give physical properties that can much more useful." Along with Prosonix' Prosonitron and SAX systems, the particle engineering technologies create particles that are much more rounded, robust and brittle, with consequences for tablet compressibility and drug delivery. "Used in combination, the Rafael process technology and the…Prosonitron process and reactor technology represents and ideal solution to a range of common secondary pharmaceutical manufacturing problems, and overcomes many of the problems hitherto associated with classic dry milling or micronisation," says the company.
Prosonix acquired the exclusive license in a relatively 'modest' deal, hoping to establish the appetite for the technology in the market. Rafael will receive a kickback from Prosonix in return. Prosonix has gone from strength to strength in the short time since it was spun out from AEA Technology several years ago and reborn as Prosonix in 2006, winning awards for its SAX sonocrystallisation technology and recently completing a £5m funding round to drive the business forward. "Power ultrasound is a very powerful tool in industrial chemistry and in manufacturing pharmaceuticals…we are getting more and more interest from companies," said Ruecroft. "I believe it will become more and more useful…sonocrystallisation has the potential to become a really significant chemistry."
Prosonix' strength over its competitors lies in the fact that it does more than simply provide manufacturing equipment, the firm has the technology and expertise that allows it to offer a wider portfolio to its customers and gives it an edge over competing firms.
"We're in a fairly unique position," says Ruecroft.