Process for Production of Nanoparticles and Microparticles by Spray Freezing Into Liquid (Aqueous Process)

Nanotechnologies : Life Science Apps

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  • Robert Williams III, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy
  • Keith Johnston, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Timothy Young , Chemical Engineering
  • True Rogers, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy
  • Melisa Barron, Ph.D. , College of Pharmacy

Background/unmet need

Although there are several processes routinely used in the pharmaceutical industry to reduce particle size, each has its limitations. Mechanical pulverization, for example, typically achieves a size range of greater than 50 microns and a polydisperse particle size distribution. In contrast, this original process developed by researchers at UT Austin is capable of producing much smaller particle sizes and more monodisperse particle size distributions. In addition, some of the currently used techniques expose the active drug substance to extreme conditions that may cause chemical degradation, rendering the final product inactive. The UT Austin process exposes the chemical agents to low temperatures that preserve chemical stability.

The particles that are produced are in the nanometer and micrometer size range, depending on the parameters used in the process. The exact size range can be manipulated and controlled by the choice of processing parameters. Using this cutting edge technique, the morphology of water soluble chemical agents can be altered, resulting in porous nanoparticles and microparticles. These porous particles are ideal for pulmonary delivery of active ingredients due to the low density of the final powder. In addition, the small porous particles of drugs can be incorporated into a polymeric carrier in order to modify the release of the drug and optimize the bioavailability of the drug. Other excipients can be included in the aqueous feed to optimize the chemical and physical stability of the drug substance and enhance its systemic absorption.

Invention Description

UT Austin inventors have developed an innovative process to produce hollow, porous nanoparticles and microparticles containing a pharmaceutical drug substance. The powders produced using this technology can be used for many routes of delivery, including pulmonary delivery. Pulmonary delivery usually requires the administration of the active ingredient by a pressurized metered-dose inhaler (pMDI). Dry powder delivery using the porous, low-density powders generated by this technology will provide a dosage form which is much easier to manufacture, as well as a product which is much easier to self-administer for therapeutic use. This technology may be used to develop controlled-release drug delivery systems for delivering active drugs to humans and animals. It may also be used to produce polymer blends, polymer composites and inorganic metal and metal oxide nanoparticles.


  • Process produces nanoparticles and microparticles for drug delivery applications
  • Size range can be manipulated through process parameters
  • Produces smaller particles than current techniques
  • Produces more monodisperse particle size ranges than current techniques
  • Does not expose the active drug substance to conditions that may cause chemical degradation

Market potential/applications

Companies interested in the production of nanoparticles and microparticles for drug delivery applications.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status