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De superverstuivers van Medspray

Vanaf 2013 moeten de eerste medische verstuivers van Medspray op de markt komen. Een uitkomst voor mensen met astma en COPD. De productie is mede mogelijk gemaakt door voorfinanciering uit High Tech Fund, het apparatuurfonds van High Tech Factory.

De door Medspray ontwikkelde sproeikopjes zijn gebaseerd op siliciumchips met microgaatjes. Deze gaatjes (doorsnee: 2 micrometer) zijn veel kleiner dan bij de gangbare verstuivers. De neveldruppels van het medicijn zijn daardoor fijner, bovendien worden ze beter gedoseerd afgegeven. Het medicijn werkt veel efficiënter, zo is gebleken uit de eerste klinische tests. Mensen met astma kunnen daardoor toe met een lagere dosis Ventolin, zodat ze minder last hebben van bijwerkingen. Ook COPD-patiënten en mensen met taaislijmziekte kunnen veel baat hebben bij de verstuivers van Medspray.

Het bedrijf is al sinds 2002 bezig met het ontwikkelen en testen van de gepatenteerde techniek. De chips worden nu al bij duizenden tegelijk geproduceerd in het NanoLab van MESA+. De afwerking en het aanbrengen van de plastic behuizing vinden plaats in High Tech Factory. Voor dat laatste is een speciaal apparaat aangeschaft dankzij een lening van ruim 100.000 euro uit High Tech Fund.
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Medspray super-inhalers

The very first medical inhalers produced by Medspray will start to be marketed in 2013. This product will be a godsend for patients suffering from asthma and COPD. Production of the inhaler was made possible by prefinancing from the High Tech Fund: High Tech Factory’s equipment fund.

The spray nozzles developed by Medspray are based on silicon chips with micro holes. These holes (with a diameter of two micrometres) are much smaller than those in the inhalers used today. The aerosol droplets of the medication are therefore finer and furthermore the dosage is administered better. The first clinical trials show that medication administered in this way works more efficiently.

“Using the traditional inhaler, only 10% of the medication actually reaches the lungs. The rest remains in the throat or mouth. This is 50% using our nozzle chip”, says Wilbur de Kruijf, head of device development at Medspray. Thanks to this new technology asthma patients will soon be able to administer a lower dose of Ventolin and therefore have fewer side effect problems. Also COPD and cystic fibrosis patients will benefit greatly from the Medspray inhalers.

The company has been engaged in the development and testing of this patented technology since 2002. Chips are now being mass produced by thousands at a time in the MESA+ NanoLab. The finishing touch and attaching the plastic casing takes place in the High Tech Factory. For the latter a special piece of equipment has been purchased thanks to a loan of above € 100,000 provided by the High Tech Fund. “It would have been very difficult to obtain a loan from a bank given that we are unable to show them customer contracts”, says De Kruijf. “The alternative would have been to have a partner in the pharmaceutical industry purchase the equipment and installing it here. We prefer not to do that. We are now able to retain our independency, and it also gives us more latitude to produce this series as well as more scope for other applications. This solution means that more asthma or COPD patients are able to benefit from our technology.”

Medspray will need at least two more additional machines to achieve a fully automated production line and distribution system from 2013 onwards when the product starts to be marketed. The figures involved will easily be several tens of millions inhalers a year. “We shall probably also be calling on the High Tech Fund to help us with the purchase of that equipment as well.”