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MIT Technology Review

Drug Cloud

Anybody who’s used an inhaler to treat asthma or allergies is familiar with the medicinal aftertaste. That taste is more than an annoyance-it’s a sign that a portion of the drug is going to waste in the back of the throat rather than in the lungs where it’s needed. Battelle Pulmonary Therapeutics-a company spun off in April from Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio-is aiming to deliver inhalable drugs more efficiently with new “electrohydrodynamic,” or EHD, aerosol technology.

EHD devices use voltage, rather than pressure, to create a “soft cloud” of aerosolized drug. The patient inhales the cloud, rather than having aerosol shot into the mouth at a velocity that propels drug particles against the throat. The new company believes EHD technology will be valuable against a number of respiratory diseases and infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia. As TR went to press, the startup had signed two licensing agreements-one to commercialize an anti-viral device-and was working on several other deals.