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Posted: May 7, 2007
Australian nanotechnology companies set to revolutionize drug delivery
(Nanowerk News) Two Australian bio-nanotech companies are set to revolutionize the way that medicine is delivered. Victorian Premier Steve Bracks announced today at BIO 2007 in Boston that Nanotechnology Victoria Ltd (NanoVic) is launching Interstitial NanoSystems (Interstitial NS) and Quintain NanoSystems (Quintain NS) as independent companies. The NanoVic spin-offs are the result of a portfolio of projects and developments built around strategic investment of nearly A$14 million with over a dozen partners since 2004.
Interstitial NS is initially focusing on its pain-free insulin delivery patch for diabetes, while the first product for Quintain NS is a rapid clinical test for the detection of meningitis. "Both diseases have devastating effects on people around the world," said Mr. Bracks. "Any new product that makes it easier to test for a disease or to take a life-saving drug is welcomed." NanoVic is attending BIO 2007 and will have prototypes of a selection of these products on display.
Dr. Bob Irving, Director of Interstitial NS and Quintain NS said, "We are excited at the prospects of the two new companies, Interstitial NS and Quintain NS, commercializing the nanotechnology innovations in delivery and diagnostics, to provide better health outcomes with reduced costs to the community. These companies will help to consolidate the key skills, technologies and manufacturing abilities in areas of nanomedicine, where Australia and Victoria have strength."
The Interstitial NS transdermal delivery patch for insulin has already been tested on animals by the Victorian College of Pharmacy and is expected to begin pre-clinical trials in September. Interstitial NS is working with Melbourne-based company Catapult to produce a portable prototype device to enable self administration. The patches are manufactured by the Victorian company MiniFAB, while the nanostructured drugs are formulated by Eiffel Technology.
Interstitial NS will also commercialize a device for pulmonary delivery of nanoparticulate drugs. The portable personal inhaler uses Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology, with Melbourne-based Charlwood Design designing the prototype pump. Pre-clinical trials are anticipated to start in January 2008. The transdermal delivery technology used by Interstitial NS has already been recognized as "prime technological innovation" by analysts Frost & Sullivan.
Quintain NS has a number of products in the pipeline, initially focusing on a diagnostic test for the detection of meningitis. The test uses nanoparticle technology to provide a rapid color-based readout, avoiding lengthy bacterial culturing for identifying the bacteria. Also in development are a number of other diagnostic tools. Nanoparticle-based imaging reagents will enable early detection of disease states in humans. Nanoarray biochips will offer a cost effective method of detection for both salmonella and bovine mastitis, and enzyme biosensor probes are under development for the measurement of sulfite in food and beverages.