The University of Limerick has a number of new technologies that are available for commercial exploitation by Industry. For more information on any of these technologies or the research capabilities relevant to them please contact the relevant Case Manager or the Technology Transfer Office. The University of Limerick is interested in seeking partners to exploit the commercial potential of these technologies by entering into licensing agreements. The following Technologies are available for licensing.
3D printing radio-opaque multi-material components
Radiopaque 3D printing material is a step towards being able to manufacture complete medical devices using 3D printers. Researchers at the University of Limerick have developed a radio-opaque material for multi-material 3D printing that replicates the appearance of bone under X-ray imaging modalities. The materials/inks developed in UL are based on nanoparticles which are considered safe with medical grade.
UL researchers have created a modified thermoset adhesive that can be effectively degraded by dielectric heating. Dielectric heating is a process by which radio frequency microwave energy can heat a non/low electric conductive (dielectric) material. Destruction of the adhesive bond does not damage the bonded materials (for plastic and composite materials tested). Dielectric absorption materials are distributed in the adhesive and act as localised ‘hotspots’ to absorb and conduct heat into the surrounding adhesive causing it to rapidly degrade (30 seconds - 3 mins). The modified adhesive retains the bonding advantages demonstrated by traditional thermoset (epoxy) resins but their bonding is reversible.
New Crystalline Forms of Apixaban
Apixaban (APX) is a drug molecule that is a highly potent, selective, and efficacious inhibitor of blood coagulation factor Xa. APX was developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb and the revenue of the marketed drug product, Eliquis®, was $14.1 billion in 2020. Apixaban sales were $16.7 billion in 2021. The solid form of APX that lies at the heart of Eliquis® exhibits relatively low solubility. Researchers at UL have invented a novel family of anhydrous APX cocrystals that addresses the problems of previous APX solid forms
Cost-effective & rapid cell model to test drug delivery
Researchers at UL have developed a cheap and rapid in-vitro cell model that can mimic in-vivo cell barriers (blood-brain barrier, BBB) to screen drugs. The drug’s ability can be tested to cross those barriers. The model created can mimic the barriers of animal models meaning this model can replace animal testing to screen drugs. Furthermore, the test can be carried over a relatively abbreviated period (6 days vs. 3-4 weeks).
CM NANO, a novel nanoparticle solution for greatly improving the solubility of traditionally poorly soluble drugs
Poor solubility represents a significant problem during pre-clinical trials with up to 90% of new drugs being poorly soluble.
The CM Nano technology offers a solution to poorly soluble drugs while also addressing poor bioavailability and low efficacy. Scientists at the University of Limerick have developed a novel continuous nano-spray drying technology. This technology, through a single process, allows for the control of nanoparticle size, the collection of the spray-dried nanoparticles, and the conversion of these nanoparticles into micron-sized solid nanodispersions.
CMOM-3S, Chiral Separation Material for Enantiomers
Identification and separation of enantiomers remain a scientific and technological challenge. This is particularly the case in drug discovery and natural product chemistry, where only trace amounts of novel compounds are initially available upon discovery. UL researchers have created a novel porous metal-organic material (MOM) that exhibits the following features, design from first principles, extraordinary properties and immediate practical utility.
Colitis Confirm, determining the probability of inflammatory bowel disease being ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
Our test is a cytokine profile that can accurately distinguish between ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD) in a subject having or having symptoms of, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The cytokine profile can also be used to monitor a therapeutic regime for effectiveness. The cytokine profile can be detected at a protein or genomic level and is generally determined from a peripheral blood sample (i.e. a blood fraction such as serum, plasma, or blood cells such as peripheral blood mononuclear cells).
Di-Lithium Crystals, Novel Stable Soluble LiCoCrystals
Lithium has a long history in psychiatric medicine treating a broad spectrum of activity e.g., mania, mood disorders, depression, schizophrenia, disorders of impulse control (e.g., Bipolar disorder), mental illnesses in children, etc.
However, current Li formulations have toxic side effects. Because of the high dosing required to achieve the required concentration of Li in the brain, high levels (spikes) are also present in plasma. Di-Lithium is a non-hygroscopic (does not absorb water) formulation which results in improved stability, ease of manufacture, and storage (stability testing on >50 co-crystals at 40°C, 70% relative humidity).
Morphing Space lattices: Deployable structures for space applications
Deployable space structures generally use Collapsible Tube Masts (CTM) and Storable Tubular Extendable Members (STEM). These are tube structures that can be flattened and rolled for storage and can also deploy to great lengths. However, CTM and STEM usually require relatively large mechanisms to control the speed and direction of deployment. Scaling up known deployable space structures and achieving suitable geometry in the deployed configuration also present engineering challenges. This technology enables deployable structures which perform well in all of the above-mentioned design aspects, and address the above-mentioned or related shortcomings and other problems in this field.
MammOmix: Gene signature for the identification of lymph node involvement in cancer patients
The axillary lymph nodes are often the first sites of metastatic spread before invasion into other organs. There exists a current lack of prospective molecular tools for the earlier identification of lymph node involvement. The University of Limerick has identified two genes ITGB4 and SNAI2 which in preliminary data correctly classified lymph node status for 73% of patient samples. This work has the potential to identify women who have lymph node-positive cancer at an earlier phase in the cancer journey when compared to current methods and change the care plan.
Multivibe Vibrational Energy Harvester
A novel, patented, ‘fit and forget’ energy harvesting solution that converts ambient vibrations into electrical power. The new technology eliminates the need for batteries and is tailored to power low-energy sensors for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The technology is a prototype wideband (~6.5 Hz), tuneable (11-30 Hz) harvester product (74 mm tall x 40 mm diameter), with power conditioning circuitry (3.3 VDC), that has been demonstrated to TRL6 in an end-user’s environment.
Oil extract from salmon heads with cardio protective abilities
Currently, there is a gap in the nutritional market for an oil that can be used in a supplement or nutraceutical along with current medications and that reduces cardiovascular risks (CR). UL-oil is a bioactive ingredient that contributes specifically to reducing human platelet aggregation and so minimizes the risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and other chronic disorders associated. This food-grade oil is extracted from organic Irish-farmed salmon, a sustainable source.
Textilise is a final-step, cost effective, antibacterial nanoparticle finish for woven (or fibrous) thermoplastic polymer textiles such as polyester (PET), polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and associated poly-cotton blends. The practice of coating textiles with antibacterial nanoparticles is not new. However, a cost effective, scalable, continuous method for “locking-in” of the anti-bacterial nanoparticle into the textile so that one can wash the textile under hospital washing machine conditions without the need to replenish the nanoparticle has proven elusive. The Textilise coating technology addresses this unmet market need.
SYNSORB: SYNergistic SORBents, Gas Separation Technology
These UL technologies are based on novel stable hybrid porous materials for separating acetylene (C2H4) and other contaminants from a gas mixture. In particular, the invention relates to separating acetylene from a gas mixture containing acetylene and ethylene and/or a gas mixture comprising acetylene and carbon dioxide and/or a gas mixture comprising acetylene, ethylene, and carbon dioxide, yielding polymer grade (.99.9% purity) ethylene. The materials, TIFSIX-2-Cu-i and SIFSIX-3-Ni belong to a family of hybrid ultramicroporous materials (HUMs) of general formula M'FSIX-L-M (M = divalent transition metal center; L = dipyridyl organic linker; M' = Si, Ti, Ge, Zr, Sn). These materials display excellent water stability and unusual pore chemistry.
neoMimix: Natural Sperm Selection
neoMimix - simple, safe, natural selection of sperm with intact DNA for couples seeking successful pregnancy. One in six couples require fertility treatment. There are two ways to fertilise eggs in vitro: Traditional in vitro fertilisation (IVF),or Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Our process selects sperm that are i) motile (mostly progressively motile) ii) have a higher percentage of morphologically normal sperm and iii) have a significantly lower percentage of DNA fragmentation in the selected sperm compared to the industry norm of the density gradient. The embryologist is thus presented with a population of superior-quality sperm for use in ICSI, IVF, or IUI.
Continuous Drying of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients using a Twin Screw Extruder
Drying crystalline/amorphous active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) is an important operation to produce consistent, stable, free-flowing materials for formulation, packaging, storage and transport. Various types of driers are being currently used by the pharmaceutical industry to dry API material, including vacuum tray driers, fluid bed driers, spray driers and belt driers. This invention will use the capability of drying (heating) in the twin screw extruder (TSE) barrel to immediately/continuously dry the crystalline/amorphous API material to simultaneously control required moisture content and particle size distribution.
Protease Enzyme with activity against proinflammatory mediators
Immune dysregulation is identified in a broad variety of significant syndromes and disorders including those of the skin, e.g. eczema, the lungs, e.g. asthma, and the gut, e.g. Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The predominant strategies employed to target immune dysregulation and associated disorders are the use of recombinant monoclonal antibodies (MCAb) and the use of antagonists to receptors of pro-inflammatory mediators. Our technology relates to a protease enzyme, named Prtl, and its use to treat immune dysregulation disorders. This enzyme, expressed by Lactobacillus can catalyze the destruction of thousands of pro-inflammatory mediators and allows the use of lower quantities of therapeutic medicaments in the treatment of immune dysregulation diseases.
Bioprospecting of food-grade anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and cardio-protective ingredients in apple by-products
The worldwide apple industry produces several products such as juice, cider, and vinegar, however, this production leads to 70 million tons of waste in the form of apple pomace. Particularly, this waste product is composed mainly of carbohydrates, fibre, protein, lipids, and ash. These nutrients are primarily attributed to the skin and flesh (95%). A study conducted at UL has shown that food-grade extracted from apple pomace can be used as a functional product. The resultant bioactive product has phenolics and PL with strong anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet properties. This valorised product can be used for producing functional foods like i.e., whole grain bread, food supplements, and nutraceuticals.
An Electrochemical Sensor formed from Sustainable Materials
Patients with diabetes typically use rapid point of care (POC) tests to measure blood sugar levels as an important aspect of managing their diabetes. This is conducted using 2-4 finger-prick tests/day using a test strip and blood testing meter. The glucose meter contains a sensor that enables glucose measurement. This invention relates to a method to form a third-generation glucose biosensor utilising glucose oxidase (GOx) immobilised on mesoporous carbon nanostructures. These nanostructures were produced from a 50% alcell lignin and 50% polylactic acid (PLA) precursor blend.
Sustainable Ingredients from Brewer’s Spent Grains
The brewing industry produces 39 million tonnes of Brewer's Spent Grain (BSG) waste every year. The University of Limerick (UL), has isolated and developed nutritious food products that meet the demands of health-conscious consumers for clean-label ingredients from the spent grains. This process reduces waste, promotes sustainability and makes healthier food options.