New Manufacturing Method Improves Drug Delivery of Asthma Inhalers

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Australian team develops method for making ultrafine particles for more efficient drug delivery.

A chemical engineering team from Monash University in Australia developed a method to manufacture ultrafine particles that will improve the consistency and efficiency of drugs used in metered-dose inhalers to treat asthma, the University announced in a press release. The anti-solvent vapor precipitation method uses ethanol to dehydrate droplets, which results in ultrafine particles with a more uniform size.

 “Ultrafine uniform particles will ensure that fewer drug particles get stuck in the throat while more can reach the lower regions of the lungs,” said team leader Dr. Meng Wai Woo. “Because we can now make the small particles more uniform, it means the inhalers will work better. From a drug manufacturer’s perspective, this new approach can maintain the uniformity of the particle and yet potentially maintain commercially viable production rates.”

The team’s work results in particles smaller than a micron in diameter. These particles are much smaller than those produced by conventional dehydrating mechanisms, which are limited by the size of the atomized droplet.


Assisted by a grant from the Australian Research Council, the Monash team is now testing its method on whey to research the ultrafine particle delivery of protein-based medicines. The team is also building a demonstration unit, which will be completed later this year, to showcase the anti-solvent vapor precipitation process.