Securing an initial £2m ($3.1m) of a planned £3m funding round allows Q Chip to invest in scale-up of current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) compliant production of materials for preclinical development.
“With this funding in hand, Q Chip is now able to establish manufacturing capability, a major milestone for our programmes. It will also allow the development of a sustainable pipeline of partnered programmes”, said Ken Powell, executive chairman of Q Chip.
Production occurs in MicroPlant, a semi-continuous microfluidic device for the bioencapsulation of biological materials within polymer microspheres. Using MicroPlant Q Chip can produce solid, monodisperse microspheres.
The device forms droplets by combining dissolved polymer and peptide with a biocompatible oil at an engineered junction. Droplets are then frozen by passing from the ambient section into a cooler area. The final step is extraction which uses an anti-solvent to remove the microspheres.
Q Chip claims MicroPlant offers encapsulation efficiency of up to 95 per cent, very low inter-batch variability, reduced production costs and quantitative product recovery. Production is scaled up without compromising sphere uniformity by increasing the number of fluidic channels.
Characteristics and products
Using MicroPlant Q Chip can produce 80-200µm microspheres. The size of a microsphere affects administration and drug release kinetics. Consequently, by controlling their size Q Chip is able to modify drug release.
Preclinical development of biosimilars Q-Leuprolide, for prostate cancer and endometriosis, and Q-Octreotide, a treatment for acromegaly, will be supported by the capacity expansion. Q Chip plans to begin a bioequivalence study of Q-Leuprolide in 2011.
The financing round was led by Curzon Park Capitol and Finance Wales. Jon Moulton and Harry Solomon also invested in the company. To date Q Chip has secured investment totalling £7.5m.
in-PharmaTechnologist was unable to obtain additional information from Q Chip in time for publication.