When an individual with epilepsy has a seizure, he or she needs quick delivery of an anticonvulsant drug. That’s why Max Baker, UI associate professor in the anesthesia department, has been working for two years on a rapid, easy-to-use, buccal drug delivery device for the urgent treatment of seizures.

The buccal device sits between the cheek and gum and releases a drug by a saliva dissolution of a drug containing matrix. Nothing like it currently exists on the U.S. market.

Baker, Ph.D., has disclosed the intellectual property to the UI Research Foundation and filed a provisional patent. He was also awarded FY2015 GAP funding to aid in the development and commercialization of the device.

The GAP funding will allow Baker to gather data to attract further funding and to get the engineering expertise needed to continue developing the device.

Baker’s long-term goal is to partner with a larger pharmaceutical company that will have the resources to finish developing the product.

He became interested in drug discovery research years ago, particularly in anticonvulsants, which share many properties with anesthetics.

“I became aware of a need for rapid drug treatment for epilepsy,” Baker said. “When you’re at home or away from a hospital, there’s a need for a way to urgently, quickly dose a person with an anticonvulsant. From there, I tried to see if I could find a solution to the problem.”

He would tell other researchers to take the same practical approach and utilize the many resources provided by the university.

“If they think they can solve a healthcare related problem, if they think they have an idea, then they should pursue it,” Baker said. “More than likely, they can find someone that can help them at the university.”

The University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF) is a 501C3 corporation that commercializes UI-developed technologies and inventions through licensing and new venture formation, and manages the subsequent revenue stream. The UIRF’s primary functions include identifying and developing new ventures, finding partners for commercializing and intellectual property services. More at https://research.uiowa.edu/uirf/

To view all FY15 GAP awardees, visit http://research.uiowa.edu/impact/news/ui-awards-gap-funding-11-faculty-innovators.

By Anne Easker