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Nanopatch Return to case studies page

Prof Mark Kendall, ANFF-Q and Vaxxis - Biomedical devices
ANFF has a vital role in the translation of health research into real world applications for the general public. One of the large projects that ANFF-Q is involved in that falls into this category, is the development of the Nanopatch. This research effort, headed by Prof. Mark Kendall at the Australian Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, intends to produce a viable alternative to needle injections and the transport issues associated with liquid vaccines.

In essence, the nanopatch is an array of very small needles in the order of 50 to 100µm in length which are pre-coated with the vaccine. This patch is then pressed onto the skin where it penetrates, painlessly, and delivers its payload to the appropriate cells within the body to produce the required immune response. Its advantages are its efficiency in triggering the immune response required for immunity, the removal of macro needles from the vaccination process and the ability to provide a stable method of transporting the vaccine itself without the need to keep the vaccine cold. The removal of the need for cold transport is also vital in the push to improve health outcomes in the developing world where these facilities are not always available.

ANFF-Q facilities and personnel are heavily involved in the development of this technology. Advanced instruments such as the Deep reactive Ion Etcher, Photoplotter and hot embosser are used within our class 10000 clean room and the soft lithography suite to produce these micro-needle arrays via a number of new and innovative processes. But we need to look at these arrays and ensure they are what we think they are and to do this we need to go beyond the capabilities of a normal microscope. The imaging and surface characterization equipment present at the ANFF-Q give the researchers the ability to visualize the arrays they produce with instruments such as Atomic Force Microscopy, Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. With these validated patches the research team can be confident in progressing to the next stage in the development of this innovative and sought after technology.

This project has recently won $15m venture capital funding led by OneVentures, with co-investors Brandon Capital, the Medical Research Commercialisation Fund (MRCF), and US-based HealthCare Ventures. It also won Prof Kendall an Australian Museum Eureka award.