A breakthrough in drug testing developed by a University of Huddersfield lecturer could lead to cheaper, more effective medicines.
Dr Hamid Merchant is a member of the team that has created a device which accurately simulates the gastro-intestinal tract and how it absorbs medication.
This means that the cost of clinical trials could be greatly reduced with savings passed on to customers.
Dr Merchant, senior lecturer in pharmaceutics, previously worked at University College London (UCL) and has extensive research experience.
The device is the subject of a patent application – with potential commercial partners already expressing interest – and a working prototype has been constructed at UCL.
It has already been used, under contract, by drug companies in order to test new products. Dr Merchant now aims to establish a second prototype at Huddersfield.
Drug trials start out on animals and, if deemed safe, clinical trials begin on humans.
But differences between animal and human gastro-intestinal tracts mean that the pre-clinical tests are not always reliable and further expensive investigations are needed.
The device simulates the human gut meaning more successful trials.
Dr Merchant said: “By minimising human trials we would reduce the cost of development, which is then charged to patients when the drug comes to the market.
“If the development costs are lower we can make new drugs more affordable.”
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