17thJun 2011

The Idea/Product

Limitations of conventional crystallization techniques in the processing of pharmaceutical ingredients for a number of dosage forms typically requires the need for micronisation. These low-tech destructive based techniques are expensive, unnecessary and can adversely affect a range of highly important physicochemical properties.

There is an unmet and pressing need to engineer crystalline particles with an even greater control of the surface characteristics and surface geometry of micron and sub-micron sized particles while maintaining high throughput, low cost and industrial scalability. Alternative processes for the production of drug particles within an optimum particle size range, for example by the use of supercritical fluids, have generated significant interest and potential, albeit with limited success to date.

Recent industry announcements raise serious question marks about its scalability and cost effectiveness as the technique requires extremes of pressure, only delivers minimal volume, and being a precipitation process can lead to a high degree of amorphous content.

Dr Graham RuecroftDiscovered by Dr Robert Price from the University's Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology (, SAXTM is a unique single step, solution-to-particle-technology, incorporating solution atomisation and sonocrystallization, that has shown significant potential benefits in the production of particles, particularly for inhaled therapeutics, but also has tremendous potential in production of nanosuspensions and improved particles for other formulation techniques, including pharmaceutical co-crystals and combination based therapies.

The technology allows the production in a well-defined particle size range as well as controlling the macroscopic morphology, including polymorphism, and mesoscopic surface topography. Indeed these properties are invaluable in defining aerodynamic properties of particles, shelf life, stability, bioavailability and efficacy. To this end SAXTM particles can have unique spherical shape and surface nanotopology providing minimum area for interfacial contact with low surface free energies.

How SETsquared/ Tech transfer Office has helped

The University of Bath negotiated an exclusive agreement with the Oxford based firm Prosonix Limited.

Funding/Business Won so Far

Since the deal with Bath, Prosonix have gone on to close a number of collaboration deals and complete a £5m funding round.