Inhaling drugs

A new optical instrument could vastly reduce the amount of time the pharmaceutical industry spends in R&D by speeding up the measurement of drug inhaler performance.

A new optical instrument that could vastly reduce the amount of time the pharmaceutical industry spends in R&D, by speeding up the measurement of drug inhaler performance, is being launched by LoughboroughUniversityspin out VariDose Limited.

The product, VariDose, utilises custom-designed and state of the art opto-electronics and takes less than 60 seconds to run each test.

VariDose works by measuring the cloud of drug released from an inhaler as it passes through a tube intersected by co-planar beams of red, blue and infra-red light. Sensors are able to monitor the structure of the evolving drug cloud as the light passes through. Detailed analysis is then presented on a standard Windows enabled PC or laptop.

Results can be used to investigate essential cloud characteristics related to variability in particle size distribution, fine particle fraction and dose to pinpoint how design modifications could improve both drug and device effectiveness.

“Current measurement systems, such as cascade impactors and impingers, have been around for over 20 years and are inflexible and labour intensive. The use of VariDose during R&D will dramatically increase the efficiency of the development process,” says Peter Smith, Professor of Photonics at LoughboroughUniversity and co-inventor, of VariDose, with Dr. Olga Kusmartseva.

VariDose will be launched at the Drug Delivery to the Lungs exhibition and conference in Edinburgh on 7 – 9 December 2005.