Media release: ‘Revolutionary’ system could prolong storage of medicines and save millions of lives, says Tsakas

A ‘REVOLUTIONARY’ concept which could save millions of lives around the world, and prevent the wastage of billions of pounds worth of medicines every year, has been devised by an Edinburgh-based scientist-turned-entrepreneur.

Says a spokesperson: “Spyridon ‘Ross’ Tsakas has created and patented an unique method for prolonging the lifespan of drugs so they can be stored without refrigeration for years instead of days without losing any of their effectiveness or potency.

“The single vial system works by storing life-saving medicines such as antibiotics, vaccines, insulin and others in dry powder form inside a specially attached cap fitted to a small bottle of buffer solution.

“When the cap is depressed, the powder is mixed with the solution and the medicine becomes immediately active. This is an important revelation for all liquid medicines sold today which not only have short shelf lives but also require refrigeration from production until consumption.

“Many medicines such as antibiotics and vaccines are currently manufactured in sets of two separate vials, one containing the powder form and the other the liquid ingredients of the end product. Until now, users had to extract the liquid from one vial and mix it with the powder to create a product which, unless refrigerated or used within a short time frame, soon deteriorates.

“The new process means one depression of the hollow cap containing the powder will mix with the solution to create the vaccine or antibiotic in a single vial at the moment it is needed. Until the powder and solution are mixed together, the ingredients remain inactive and can be stored without refrigeration for up to four years at a time.”

Said Spyridon, who has been granted an Enterprise Fellowship from the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Scottish Enterprise to develop his product for the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, nutritional and cosmetic industries: “The prospects are immense. If the single vial system could be used to deliver these products it would avoid the need for refrigeration and reduce manufacturing and transportation costs.

“It would also simplify the end process for the user and have a much longer shelf life while avoiding many contamination risks.”

The 25 year-old American-Greek, who studied biology and international business and has a Master’s degree from the University of Edinburgh specialising in International Business and Emerging Markets, started his career in cosmetic product development using enzymes specifically for blemish treatments and wrinkle reductions.

Professor Grahame Bulfield, CBE, former vice-principal and head of the College of Science and Engineering of the University of Edinburgh, described the single vial development as an important solution to a very big problem.

He said: “All biological materials in an aqueous solution have a very low shelf life, even if they are refrigerated. However, enzymes and antibodies used in hundreds of diagnostic tests are completely stable if stored in a freeze dried form.

“The beauty of this system is that can allow all sorts of materials, including vaccines, to be transported around at room temperature and taken into the most difficult conditions in the field, such as in Africa, India and even remote parts of Britain for that matter, and kept for a long time. Some of the materials that have been used so far have had shelf lives of three or four years.”

The spokesperson added: “This single vial system designed by Spyridon Tsakas and his father, retired Genetics Professor Spyridon Christos Tsakas, formed the foundation for Eulysis Ltd which intends to license the technology from Scotland for use around the world.”


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