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Delivery of PULmonary Therapeutics through TARgetted Delivery using Phononics

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PULTAR (Delivery of PULmonary Therapeutics through TARgetted Delivery using Phononics)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-12-31

The cost of treating patients globally with all forms of lung disease is €380B p.a leading to the loss of >50M DALYS. Generally, patients with such respiratory diseases can be treated by the inhalation of aerosols, where the therapy (including medicine or biologics used in gene therapy) can be targeted directly to the lung. The accepted wisdom is that such pulmonary delivery requires an aerosol droplet size distribution with diameters between 1 and 5μm. Current pulmonary drug delivery devices tend to produce dispersed and large droplets, which is inappropriate for the delivery of high value pharmaceuticals, including biologics.

This proof-of-concept project was aimed at developing a novel platform technology for enabling new drug delivery devices, based upon exploiting the mechanical interactions between acoustic energy, produced using a Surface Acoustic Wave device and phononic structures patterned on a biochip. The aim was to “shape” the mechanical energy within the ultrasonic sound waves to produce complex acoustic fields which are able to shape the fluid stream and control the droplet size.

We have now shown that, by using a new ultrasonic technology, we are able to define the size and distribution of monodisperse aerosol droplets, which will be used for therapeutic delivery of medicines, genes and RNA to specific regions in the lungs. The project achieved the following important goals: (i) Work with new academic collaborator in order to test devices with pharmacological cascade impactor and droplet sizer (Laurent Vecellio, , at the Centre d'Étude des Pathologies Respiratoires in Tours); (ii) Establishing a collaboration with a leading industrial partner (Vectura) validating the technique using both drug and biologics in the field of pulmonary drug delivery; (iii) Collection of technical data around dispersity of drop size in an initial prototype device using laser scattering (iv) The filing of a patent application (PCT/EP2015/076359) protecting the intellectual property generated in this project.

In future work we are optimizing a new prototype with respect to user interface, flow rate and droplet size and developing commercial relationships. We are also actively exploring a route to spin the technology out of the University.