• Technology breathes efficiency into Medicines Delivery
    Nebu-Flow team (l-r): K.K Wopat, Julien Reboud, Elijah Nazarzadeh and Christian Witte (Credit: Stewart Attwood)
  • Elijah Nazarzadeh

News & Views

Technology breathes efficiency into Medicines Delivery

Aug 10 2022

Acu-Flow, a University of Glasgow spinout has secured a £1m grant from Innovate UK to advance development of its nebuliser technology which uses an innovative surface acoustic wave technique to deliver medicines into patients’ lungs.

Over the next two years the grant, one of 17 projects funded by the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst programme, will support the Acu-Flow team, along with its research partners at the University of Glasgow and the NIHR Devices for Dignity Med-tech Co-operative, to develop a fully-integrated nebuliser ready to take to large-scale manufacture.

Current devices are limited in their ability to nebulise different types of formulation, while controlling the aerosol droplet size within the optimum range for efficient inhalation drug delivery. To compensate, patients might have to use their nebuliser for longer times than is comfortable, as long as 20 minutes and up to 6 times per day.

The company’s Nebu~Flow technology is based on delivery of droplets from a wide range of formulations including new nanomedicines and vaccines, that are capable of reaching the patient’s lungs at maximum treatment effectiveness, thus reducing dosage delivery time.

Dr Elijah Nazarzadeh, Acu-Flow Ltd’s CEO and a co-founder, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this significant grant from Innovate UK, which will allow us to accelerate our research and development over the next two years, helping us to bring our innovative and potentially life-changing technology to market.

“Respiratory diseases are the world’s leading causes of disability and death. Collectively, they add a huge burden to global health services. The COVID-19 pandemic has made us all aware of respiratory disease and the importance of new treatments to alleviate their effects.”

“While treatments for some of these diseases have advanced significantly in recent years, there are still significant challenges to overcome the efficient delivery of drugs directly to patients’ lungs. Our new technology will not only improve the amount of drug reaching the lung, but will enable new drug formulations, helping pharmaceutical companies to develop the next generation of life-changing treatments. 

Professor Jonathan Cooper of the University of Glasgow’s James Watt School of Engineering, a co-founder of the company, added: “We are delighted to support the University’s spin-out progress, enabling their products to better deliver inhaled drugs.

“In addition to the benefits for patients, Acu-Flow’s methods also greatly reduce the associated carbon footprint with respiratory disorders, helping contribute to sustainability targets within healthcare, as we all strive to meet net zero.” 

As part of the project, NIHR Devices for Dignity will also collect data to demonstrate the effectiveness of the nebuliser and ensure the designs are fit for purpose. They will gather evidence from patients and families to build a better understanding of how the new nebuliser technology can help to improve individuals’ adherence to medication schedules, as well as other aspects of living with a respiratory condition.

Professor Wendy Tindale, NIHR Devices for Dignity's Clinical Director, said: “We believe that Acu-Flow’s technology has the potential to deliver a user-friendly nebuliser, enhancing the patient’s adherence to medication, and we will work with the team to ensure that voice of patients is heard and integrated into the designs, as a co-creation effort.”

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