Prize-winning research on solubility by Hebrew University doctoral student yields promise

December 15, 2011

Jerusalem --A method for increasing solubility (the ability of one substance to dissolve into another), developed by a graduate student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Casali Institute of Applied Chemistry, has yielded promising commercial benefits for industry, particularly in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and agriculture.

The method, developed by Katy Margulis-Goshen, a Ph.D. student of Prof. Shlomo Magdassi, produces a rapid conversion of oil-in-water microemulsions, containing an insoluble substance, into a dry powder composed of nanoparticles which can easily be dissolved in water or other biological fluids.

For her work, Marguis-Goshen, who immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine in 1990, was chosen as one of the winners of this year's Kaye Innovation Awards at the university.

The process she developed is of unique industrial importance, since it leads to a significant increase in solubility and dissolution properties of almost any active ingredient, without a high energy investment.

Enhancing such solubility is especially important in the field of pharmaceutics, where nearly 50% of the newly discovered drugs cannot be administered or are very poorly absorbed due to their low solubility. Increasing solubility is also important in the field of agriculture, since the majority of insecticides are highly hydrophobic (resistant to mixing with water), and their regular application therefore requires the use of organic solvents, which are harmful to the farmer and the environment.

In cosmetics, active cosmetic ingredients for dermal delivery are usually also water resistant, so that incorporating them into non-greasy, water-based formulations is of great importance. The new process invented by Margulis-Goshen can be also applied in many other fields, such as nutrition and the manufacture of printing ink and paint.

If the active ingredient, for example, is a water-resistant drug, the powder developed in her method may be injected or incorporated into capsules, tablets and other fast-dissolving drug formulations. Such dosage forms have shown a tremendous increase in dissolution rate in water and biological fluids. They are expected to improve bioavailability of the drug, minimize its side effects by reducing the total dose needed, and allow drug targeting. A very significant improvement in drug dissolution has been shown in this way in tests with three drugs.

Similar beneficial results have been shown in applying the invention to the conversion of hydrophobic pesticides into a powder, allowing a reduction of at least six times in the effective concentration of the pesticide with utilization of water instead of organic solvents as the dispersing medium. In cosmetics, the powder containing active cosmetic ingredient may be incorporated into new, stable, water-based formulations.
-end-
The invention was patented by Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University, which is seeking commercial partners for further R&D.

The Kaye Awards were established in 1994 by Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, to encourage faculty, staff, and students of the university to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society.

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

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