Will a desktop device that synthesizes lidocaine revolutionize pharma manufacturing?

Will a device the size of a thermos flask that has the ability to produce one of the most in-demand anesthetics on demand and in just about any location revolutionize mass-production methods in the pharmaceutical manufacturing business?

Professor and inventor Colin Raston of Flinders University in Australia has successfully synthesized lidocaine using a desktop device he and his team call a Vortex Fluidic Device (VFD), the publication News Medical reports. Recently, Raston and the VFD garnered global attention for unboiling an egg, a feat that won him an Ig Nobel Prize--a parody of the Nobel Prize that is given each year for unusual or trivial achievement in scientific research.

Research on the device and production of lidocaine was published in June in Chemistry A European Journal.

Raston says the VFD easily produces lidocaine and can be used in remote areas, with basic instruction, in less than an hour. He said the ability to produce the anesthetic--which the World Health Organization considers important to a basic healthcare system--in developing countries and war zones represents a paradigm shift in pharmaceutical manufacturing.

"The VFD uniquely controls how drug molecules can be made, and this is under continuous flow, such that research in making drug molecules can be readily translated into industry, avoiding conventional scale up problems and large reaction vessels," Raston told News Medical. "Just leave the VFD running to make as much as you need."

Development of the VFD was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council and the Government of South Australia.

- check out the News Medical article
- see the Chemistry A European Journal abstract