£1m funding for drug formulation company

Ian Smith

A Birmingham company which has developed a dry powder coating technology that opens up possibilities in pharmaceutical manufacturing has completed a £1m funding round led by DSW Ventures.

The investment into Aston Particle Technologies (APT), a spin-out from Aston University, was led by DSW Ventures alongside Aston University and an Aston alumnus.

Aston Particle Technologies has developed iDPC (isothermal dry particle coating), a tuneable blending process which simplifies formulating active pharmaceutical ingredients in the process of producing drugs.

The iDPC process does not use heat or solvents that cause damage to drugs.

APT’s lead compound is an anti-fungal, reformulated as an inhalable drug which is expected to provide patients with a more effective treatment and reduce the side effects of the tablet form.

The funding will be used to scale-up APT’s capabilities at current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) standards to accelerate partnerships with pharmaceutical groups and contract development and manufacturing organisations, as well as to expand its product development and commercial teams.

iDPC was developed within Professor Afzal Mohammed’s Pharmaceutical & Clinical Pharmacy Research Group at Aston University.

The company spun out in 2016, with the support of APT chairman and co-founder Ian Smith, former head of inhalation and devices product development at Pfizer Inc and former CCEO and co-founder of Meridica, which successfully exited in 2004.

They were joined by David Wyatt as chief executive officer.

Wyatt said: “This new partnership will enable us to build with confidence upon the foundation provided by Aston University and Innovate UK to commercialise iDPC at scale and to accelerate the development of innovative medicines.”

APT becomes the ninth company in the portfolio of DSW Ventures, the UK-regionally focused venture capital business.

Emma Cassidy of DSW Ventures said: “We believe that APT’s technology is truly innovative and will change the way drugs are formulated and developed. The simplicity of the technology and its ability to formulate drugs that previously could not be made in a practical or effective way is truly exciting. We look forward to working with such an experienced and dedicated management team, and have high hopes for the future of the business.”