Published: 5 September 2014

Liverpool materials science spin out company launched

Chemistry

The University of Liverpool has launched a new company Tandem Nano Limited (Tandem) to make insoluble chemicals and materials disperse in water.

The company’s technology has significant implications for cost reduction and the improvement of the effectiveness of drugs and chemicals across a broad range of products from HIV medication, steroids and antibiotics to detergents and cleaning agents.

Soluble drugs are generally much easier to process and more easily absorbed into the body. An increasing number of drugs in development, however, are poorly water-soluble, requiring the administration of high doses to get therapeutic blood concentrations, which can sometimes result in toxicity. It is thought lower doses may accelerate development of drugs with low solubility, resulting in safer and more cost effective medicines.

Tandem’s unique offering is the result of collaboration between the Department of Molecular and Clinical Pharmacology and the Department of Chemistry, spearheaded by the research groups of Professors Andrew Owen and Steven Rannard.

Tandem’s technology provides partners with tailored nanoparticles of insoluble materials allowing for beneficial results to be achieved faster and more cheaply than traditional approaches. For pharmaceuticals, the approach may minimise some of the risk of drug failure during development.

Once the market opportunity was identified, the services of Liverpool IP were engaged to merge a suite of existing patents with University technology as a means to enable the team to realise their vision and turn their science into commercial opportunities, with the potential for positive impact on the lives of patients and consumers.

Professor Owen explains: “The company is about applying practical science and clinical expertise to deliver a step-change for drug delivery, which means lower cost of drug production, fewer problems with side effects and the possibility for enabling the development of a host of new medicines. Key to the company strategy is the early integration of pharmacology with materials chemistry.”

Professor Rannard added: “Although the technology has applications in many market areas, our initial focus is pharmaceuticals. As encapsulated in the company name, we aim to exploit our combined expertise to enable improvements across a range of current medicines and facilitate the exploitation of exciting new developments within our research.”

For more information about the company, please visit the website.

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