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25 December 2014

12 spin-outs of Christmas: Disruptive Materials

As the festive season comes around again, Global University Venturing looks back at some of the most impressive technologies driving academic spin-outs which have crossed our pages over 2014.

Author: Gregg Bayes-Brown, editor

Disruptive Materials

Institution: Uppsala University

Sector: Pharmaceutical


In excess of 70% of all drug candidates are rejected at the early stages of development due to solubility. With the body unable to absorb the drug, no matter the potential, the candidate will get shelved.

That’s where upsalite comes in. Discovered last year in the ways of gunpowder and penicillin – by accident – the material stops drugs from crystallising, and therefore makes them soluble. Set up earlier in 2014, Disruptive Materials is now commercialising the discovery, which is described as a solid material with small pores that acts as a sponge for the drugs.

Upsalite could not only be used for drugs currently in development and future drugs yet to be discovered, but could also open the door to previously dismissed substances. While it was previously hypothesised that pharmaceutical companies would not want to return to struck off drugs, that has not turned out to be the case for Disruptive, which received requests from 2,000 companies at launch.

The company,  which won Global University Venturing’s Technology of the Year, is still inundated with requests into its technology, and is looking down to narrow down its focus in the year ahead. While the eventual focus areas are yet undecided, the overall impact of Upsalite and Disruptive Materials could turn out to be massive.

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