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XstalBio: new ways to deliver drugs

Copyright: XstalBio

XstalBio is a spin-out company that focuses on finding simple solutions to the complex problem of administering drugs to patients, specifically when those drugs are complex biological molecules. Their technology enables protein-based drugs to be formulated, manufactured and given to patients more efficiently and effectively, such as via an inhaler rather than injection. This has significant advantages in the treatment of cystic fibrosis, for example.

XstalBio was founded in 2001 by scientists at the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde. The company’s client base now includes major pharmaceutical, biotech and animal health companies who between 2008 and 2012 paid more than £2.2M to access XstalBio’s technology.

Data breakout

40 Number of patents to cover the company’s broad intellectual property platform
£50,000 Value of the Gannochy Trust Award for Innovation from the Royal Society of Edinburgh awarded to Parker in 2006 (PDF, 82KB)
£600,000 Annual revenue of the company that has 12 full-time employees

In the late 1990s a research team led by Dr Marie Claire Parker based at the University of Glasgow, and the University of Strathclyde, realised that particles they were using as catalysts could be coated with bioactive molecules such as medicines, dehydrated into a dry powder and used to deliver drugs.

Parker’s initial work was supported by a BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship, and the protein-coated microcrystal system (PCMC) they invented was subsequently patented by Parker, and Dr Barry Moore, Dr Johann Partridge and Professor Peter Halling of the University of Strathclyde. XstalBio was founded in 2001 to commercialise the work with Parker as CEO, who completed a BBSRC-Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise fellowship to develop the technology’s full commercial potential.

Although the PCMC technology is based on the delivery of drugs by inhalation, the team has also expanded its intellectual property by developing delivery in high concentrations, sustained release, and for vaccines. Delivering biological medicines by any of these methods would mean that GPs could provide treatment in a doctor’s surgery or at home, without patients needing to attend hospital.

XstalBio’s vaccine formulations can also be shipped without refrigeration, eliminating the costly and demanding ‘cold-chain’ required to transport frozen or refrigerated vaccines internationally. This is a major advantage when the cold chain can account for 80% of the costs of a vaccine programme in developing nations.

Read the full impact evidence report:

Spinout XstalBio develops new ways to administer drugs (PDF 140KB)

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