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CHANDIGARH: National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER), Mohali has put India in the select club of countries that manufacture raw material for generating nano-crystal based medicines.

Nano-crystals are tiny nanometre-sized particles of the drug that act faster and more efficiently than the conventional ones. The US and Ireland are the only other countries where the technology is available.

NIPER has already got an Indian patent for the technology and has now applied for the US and the European patents. The indigenous technology will cut the cost of such drugs by almost half, claim experts who have developed the technology in laboratory quantities at NIPER.

The nanotechnology-enabled drug delivery market is estimated to be $136 billion. Out of this, 60% share is expected to be occupied by nanocrystals.

"NIPER has developed a technology for generation of nano crystalline solid dispersions called NanoCrySP. More than 60% of the drugs are not easily soluble in water. This prevents their absorption in the blood and tissues and most of the drug is excreted without absorption.

Consequently, oral drugs lose their efficiency. Using nano-crystals for medicines this problem of insolubility has been resolved, as the technology to prepare raw material for the production of these crystals has been developed," said Dr. K K Bhutani acting director of NIPER.

He added, "Unlike the available and patented technology abroad, the indigenous process generates the nano-crystals directly as a solid powder, rather than as a nano-suspension in liquid that has to be subsequently converted into a solid. This has helped in cutting down the cost of generating nano-crystal raw material and opening further competition in the pharmaceutical drug development market."

NIPER has entered into licensing agreement for development and commercialisation, retaining the ownership of the patent, with Windlas Biotech limited, an Indian pharmaceutical company. Currently the technology is in nascent stage of laboratory scale trials. The commercial partner would scale up the technology and go further for clinical trials.

After commercialization of products based on NanoCrySP, sales linked royalty payment shall be made to NIPER by the company. This technology, if successful, could allow for discovery of new treatments for existing molecules.



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