A collaborative research project involving Aerogen Ltd. Galway and University of Limerick has been shortlisted for an Impact Award which highlights outstanding contributions to society and the economy through innovation. The University of Limerick project, Aerogen Solo II, is competing with Durham University and the University of Bath in the ‘Collaborative Impact’ category. The Impact Awards, organised by PraxisUnico, recognise and celebrate the success of collaborative working and the process of transferring knowledge and expertise beyond higher education, charities and public sector research establishments for the wider benefit of society and the economy.
The other two finalists in the category include ‘The "Durham Model" for integrated business interaction from Durham University, ranked among the top 100 universities in the world and a fuel efficient, low carbon cars project from UK Sunday Times University of the Year 2011, University of Bath and Ford Motor Company.
Dr Mark Southern, Enterprise Research Centre, UL said; “We are delighted to have reached the final three in this prestigious competition which is testament to the impact this project has for business, technology and patient outcomes. Working in partnership with Aerogen we have developed technology which solved a critical production issue and therefore delivering scalability, cost effectiveness and consistency which is vital in this competitive global industry. Research partnerships like this one with Aerogen are supporting increased employment in Ireland and global export sales, in product markets that show the high tech capability of Irish SMEs.”
For new born babies, patients in intensive care and others needing non -invasive drug delivery, the simple reflex of the next breath is now a life-saving possibility through the Aerogen Solo II nebuliser. Aerogen has developed a significant technological enhancement to aspects of the vibrating core technology for use in their acute care aerosol drug delivery nebulisers.
Developed by UL researchers, Dr Mark Southern, Daniela Butan, Dr Seamus Clifford & Professor Michael Pomeroy (Material Surface Science Institute) in conjunction with Brendan Hogan at Aerogen, the unique technology has enabled Aerogen to scale the production of its core technology, ensuring a predictable and reliable production process.
The new device deploys state-of-the-art atomic sciences on precious metal materials as part of a completely silent and closed circuit ventilation device that delivers life-saving medicine to the lungs of the most vulnerable patients. The Solo II wastes no drugs in delivery and is four times more efficient than its nearest competitor, the jet nebuliser. The Solo II technology is also now the most cost efficient nebuliser available today since Aerogen's complete 'design and delivery' supply-chain has now been gathered in from five different countries and efficiently located in Ireland. The new nebulising technology has gone global immediately and is adopted by Philips, Siemens and GE Medical. It is also on the front line of worldwide healthcare, ready to play a key role in nebulising the measles vaccine.
The Aerogen Solo II design and manufacturing project truly represents a quantum leap - not only for Aerogen but for all the supply partners and manufacturing suppliers on the Irish West coast. Aerogen is returning a 60% improvement in product margins with project payback at just 18 months. Plus, through the supply-chain consolidation, there are supply and manufacturing efficiencies which include risk, carbon footprint and working capital reduction (by 40%) and improved lead times.
Future global sales growth is predicted at 30% per year which brings a positive economic impact for Ireland’s medical device industry which is now second only to Germany in Europe.
This research was part-funded through the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership scheme.