A new generation technology that could improve vaccine performance by more than 150 times and replace the needle and syringe has been named a finalist in UQ Business School's $100,000 Enterprize business planning competition.
The Nanopatch, a needle free vaccine delivery system the size of a postage stamp which can be self applied directly onto the skin, was first developed in 2003 during a 'eureka' moment.
Chief Technical Officer Professor Mark Kendall identified an opportunity to make improvements to the traditional needle and syringe so he set about addressing the challenges.
Since then Professor Kendall has engaged with the vaccine industry with the aim of developing the Nanopatch device to meet real industry needs.
"The Nanopatch would have a huge impact on healthcare for Australians and around the world," said Professor Kendall.
"Currently most vaccines are delivered by needle or syringe which is inefficient because it places the vaccine into the muscle, an area that has few immune cells.
"In contrast the Nanopatch delivers an array of vaccine coated miniature projections through painless penetration of the outer layer of the skin.
"The Nanopatch will increase immune responses, remove the need for vaccine refrigeration, appeal to patients with needle phobia, reduce the amount of needle stick injuries and remove the need for a trained practitioner," he continued.
Professor Kendall also noted that existing alternative vaccine delivery solutions are limited by factors including the need for refrigeration which can add up to 20 per cent to the cost of a vaccine.
"It is our aim to provide an optimised, needle free vaccine delivery solution that safely and cost-effectively increases vaccine efficiency.
"While our current focus is on the delivery of vaccines to humans, the technology has potential to be adapted to include drug delivery to the skin, vaccines for animal health and diagnostic applications."
Professor Kendall said the $100,000 prize offered in the Enterprize competition would help launch the Nanopatch into a successful commercial device.
"We hope to contribute to improvements in vaccines and make them available to many more people.
"We believe the Enterprize competition will allow us to focus on the commercialisation of the product at the right time in our journey."
Nanopatch will compete against six other national finalists for the $100,000 prize at UQ Business School's Enterprize Pitch Day on Wednesday 20 October.
Enterprize is a national business planning competition organised by UQ Business School to showcase innovative products and business models amongst potential investors.
The Enterprize competition is proudly supported by i.lab Incubator, an organisation that aims to accelerate the growth of commercially sound, early stage technology ventures. i.lab is celebrating its tenth year in 2010 and has assisted over 100 companies progress from the start up phase to commercialisation.
For more information, entry requirements or to enter Enterprize please visit www.enterprize.uq.edu.au.