Non-Settling Flocs for Surfactant-Free Enhanced Pulmonary Delivery with Pressurized Metered Dose Inhalers

Life Sciences : Drug Delivery

Available for licensing


  • Keith Johnston, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Joshua Engstrom, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Jasmine Tam (Rowe) , Chemical Engineering

Background/unmet need

Until recently, the delivery of protein therapeutics has been largely limited to parenteral delivery due to the chemical and physical instabilities of proteins and challenges in permeating biological membranes. Among the non-invasive routes, pulmonary delivery offers advantages of large alveolar surface area (~100 m2), rapid absorption across the thin alveolar epithelium (0.1-0.5 micrometers), avoidance of first pass metabolism, and sufficient bioavailabilities. For pulmonary delivery, pressurized meter dose inhalers (pMDI) remain the most popular delivery device, relative to dry powder inhalers (DPI) and nebulizers, because of low cost, portability, and ease of disposability. Because most drugs, including proteins, are insoluble in hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) propellants, most effort has focused on the design of stable suspensions.

Invention Description

UT Austin inventors have created a technology which allows efficient pulmonary delivery of a wide variety drugs with a pressurized metered dose inhaler. This cutting-edge technology has the advantage of higher fine particle fractions in the lungs and more stable suspensions for improved pulmonary delivery.

Through the use of this novel technology, stable suspensions of open flocs of plate-shaped particles produces desirable aerosol particles for efficient pMDI delivery to the deep lungs. This novel concept for forming extremely stable suspensions of open flocs of rod-shaped particles and templating and shrinking the flocs to produce particles for efficient pMDI deep lung delivery is applicable to a wide variety of drugs without the need for surfactants or cosolvents to stabilize the primary particles. In addition, this concept is also applicable to the formation of stable, poorly water-soluble drug pMDI formulations.


  • Produces particles for efficient pMDI deep lung delivery
  • Applicable to a wide variety of drugs

Market potential/applications

Pharmaceutical manufacturing companies interested in pulmonary delivery

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status

  • 13 foreign copyrights registered
  • 3 foreign patents issued
  • 1 U.S. patent application filed