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Particle Concentration Device (Pharmaceutical)

Utah State University seeks a company interested in commercializing a particle sorting device. The pharmaceutical industry is experiencing a trend in developing inhaled drugs for a variety of treatments including: asthma, cystic fibrosis, migraines, pneumonia, and more. The inhaled drug delivery market increased 6.2% annually from 2000 to 2005, going from $6.5 billion to $8.5 billion. Particle size determination and classification are important manufacturing processes for pharmaceuticals. Particle size is important for both the drug and the drug-carrying excipient. The particle sorter from USU offers a capability that other air classifiers are incapable of—the ability to simultaneously sort dry powders into multiple size fractions. The technology could not only provide a competitive advantage over competitors, but it could be inserted into an in-line process—making the overall process leaner. The system is also customizable, allowing users the option of tailoring the particle size distribution according to the application.
Features and Benefits
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Inhaled drug delivery
  • Dry powder sorting
  • Additives
  • Particle concentration
  • No impact sorting, resulting in little particle degradation and less waste
  • Can capture multiple sizes at the same time, allowing for leaner processes
  • Extremely accurate cut sharpness, providing high quality products
  • Removes particles that are above and below specific particle size distributions, eliminating costly waste
The particle sorter uses fluid dynamics to turn a jet stream containing particles. The particles separate according to size and density and are captured further downstream. The sorter requires no physical contact, which preserves particle quality and shape. Multiple capture bins can be set downstream to capture multiple particle size distributions. The technology works best at capturing particles within the 1-100 micron range.
Development Stage
Multiple prototypes have been developed and several validation tests have been conducted. Tests have proven competitive accuracy and competency. Multiple types of particle powders have been sorted with varying sizes and densities.
US Patent No. 7,543,710
Glenn Whichard
Senior Commercialization Associate
Physical Sciences
(435) 797-9604
Reference: W05003 (v3)