Category Archives: Microbiology

Skin patch offers solution to antibiotic resistance

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

A new type of skin patch that administers drugs directly into the bloodstream is being tested as a possible answer to the antibiotic resistance crisis.

A team of researchers are developing a new type of skin patch (microarray patch) that administers drugs directly into the bloodstream through thousands of individual “microneedles” which are being tested as a possible answer to the antibiotic resistance crisis.

These “microarray patches” are a discreet, easy-to-use technology that contains an array of tiny projections that painlessly penetrate the top layer of skin to deliver a drug.

the team hope to develop and evaluate a unique antibiotic patch that can bypass the gut bacteria and extend the useful lifespan of currently-available antibiotics. On the surface of the antibiotic patch will be tiny needles that painlessly pierce the skin, turning into a jelly-like material that keeps the holes open and allows delivery of antibiotics into the skin for absorption into the bloodstream, thus bypassing the gut bacteria.

Antibiotic resistance represents the biggest threat to health today. Oral administration of antibiotics contributes significantly to the development of antibiotic resistance, due to the interaction of antibiotics with bacteria inhabiting the human gut.

Injection of antibiotics significantly reduces the development of resistance amongst gut bacteria relative to oral administration, especially if the antibiotic is predominantly excreted through the kidneys.

Accordingly, avoiding antibiotic exposure of the gut bacteria may considerably extend the useful lifespan of existing antibiotics, providing vital time for development of new antibiotics.

Professor Ryan Donnelly from the School of Pharmacy at Queen’s University Belfast, whose work focuses on novel approaches to the administration of difficult-to-deliver medicines says, “One of the biggest problems is that the huge majority of the drugs are taken orally.  This means that a small quantity of the compound often finds its way into the colon, creating the perfect breeding ground for drug-resistant bacteria.

“However, it is clearly impractical to expect patients to inject themselves at home, especially considering that >20% of people are needle-phobic. Admitting patients to the hospital every time they need an antibiotic would quickly bankrupt healthcare providers,” said Prof Donnelly.

“We hope to show that this unique antibiotic patch prevents resistance development. If we are successful, this approach will significantly extend the lifespan of existing antibiotics, allowing time for development of the next generation of antibiotics. In doing so, this work has the potential to save many lives.”

Placebo patches have already been successfully tested on ten volunteers in a study published in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. The next step is to show that they can deliver the correct dose of antibiotics, before testing them against drugs in capsule form.

“For the first time, we’re in control of the rate at which medicine goes into the skin,” Prof Donnelly continues. “I started thinking: what are the big health challenges we can use this to address? There probably isn’t a bigger health challenge today than antibiotic resistance.”

Scientists hope that the drug technology could be used to treat bacterial infections within five years following further tests.

The Wellcome Trust, Britain’s largest medical research charity, will donate £900,000 to the project next year.


Eurofins makes £4 million investment in new Scottish facility

Wax Selection – Leaders in Pharma, Biotech & MedTech Recruitment

Eurofins Scientific, a specialist in bioanalytical testing, has opened a new pharmaceutical chemistry and microbiology facility in Livingston, Scotland, following a £4 million investment.

The 5800 m2 facility will become one of the largest dedicated testing sites of its kind in the UK and the biopharmaceutical product testing (BPT) UK business, plans to double employee numbers in the next five years.

The new facility will allow the BPT business to expand its finished product and raw materials testing, and increase capacity to deal with higher volumes.

A greater number of technical specialists will also be available to work on method development and validation.

GMP microbiology contract testing will be a focus, alongside elemental impurity testing, which has benefited from the purchase of new equipment to enhance the capability of inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) testing, enabling the company to meet growing demand for this service.

Eurofins will also invest in more high-performance liquid chromatography equipment, increasing its capacity by 40%.

Alison Clayton, General Manager, said the Livingston site would be one of the largest of all the Eurofins UK sites, which form part of a network of laboratories working together across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

“The large investment in the facility will position the company in the best place to attract new customers thanks to greatly increased capacity and is in line with Eurofins’ intent to attract significant future growth and development opportunities,” she said.

Eurofins BPT UK business will move from its current site in Newbridge, Edinburgh. The Livingston facility will also house new laboratories for Eurofins’ water testing business.

The investment follows Eurofins’ acquisition of Exova’s pharmaceutical, food and water testing business in the UK and Ireland in July 2016, and the subsequent purchase of ILS’s pharmaceutical business in October 2016.

Eurofins BPT UK’s work is critical to drug development compliance testing prior to products being released to market. The company is a crucial part of the supply chain in facilitating the release of products and ultimately benefiting patient health.

The business is part of Eurofins Scientific, an international life sciences company, which provides a unique range of analytical testing services to clients across multiple industries worldwide.