University of Glasgow Spin-out, Nebu-Flow, won the Higgs EDGE award.

Issued: Tue, 03 Dec 2019 22:00:00 GMT

The University of Glasgow spin-out Nebu-Flow is bringing to market a transformative respiratory drug delivery technology. It received the prestigious Higgs award from Scottish Edge out of 225 applicants, for Science, Technology and Engineering focused businesses. (Figure 1 below)

The award will enable the company to secure employment of its team and accelerate its product development to help patients suffering from respiratory disorders.

Figure 1 – Dr. Elijah Nazarzadeh (Nebu-Flow) together with Sir Tim Hunter with the Higgs EDGE award.

Respiratory disorders are the main cause of death and disability in the world with an estimated cost to society of €400bn. These diseases, such as asthma and cystic fibrosis, are treated by the inhalation of drugs to the lungs. The efficiency of the treatment crucially depends on the drug particle size to be able to reach the right area of the lungs, between 1 and 5 micrometres. Nebu-flow’s technology employs acoustic waves to disperse liquids in the form of an aerosol (Figure 2). Coupling these waves into micro-structured arrays enables to control the aerosol droplet size with this clinically proven effective range.

Figure 2- Nebu-Flow’s acoustic technology enables efficient drug delivery to the lungs.

The project was spun out of research initiated in the group of Professor Jon Cooper in the James Watt School of Engineering, with support from UKRI and ERC. The technology has also benefitted from support from Innovate UK’s ICURe program and a Scottish Government/Royal Society of Edinburgh Unlocking Ambition Fellowship to Dr. Elijah Nazarzadeh, co-founder and lead of the company. These awards enabled the team to identify a gap in the market for delivery of hard-to-nebulise drugs including fragile biologics and personalised medicine (for example, gene-therapy) as the unique selling point for Nebu-Flow. The team has also received EPSRC IAA and MRC Confidence-in-Concept translation funding that enabled in-vitro and in-vivo evaluation of the technology.

Elijah said: “We are truly delighted to have received this prestigious award from Scottish Edge, which will allow the business to accelerate its developments to rapidly propose innovative solutions to patients who are currently not able to receive efficient treatment for chronic respiratory diseases”

Professor Jon Cooper, co-founder and Director, was keen to stress “the hard work that Elijah and the rest of the team has put into this project from the beginning. This award, following extensive translational support from the University and UK and EU funders, will be invaluable to move the technology into an industrial product”.