IN FLOW will support the uptake of flow technology in the production of health and personal care products. An open platform and pilots will help Euregio-based companies get ready for market-testing.
Medication, vitamins, cosmetics and fragrances - why do they work the way we want them to? Because inactive ingredients control the release of active ingredients. We want sunscreen to work for a couple of hours; perfume should last for a day. A pill should release its dose when it reaches the stomach or bowels. A too early release would make this pill ineffective, while the release of a too large amount would be toxic. Thus, the inactive ingredient is a ‘carrier’ that controls when, where and how much of the active substance is released. This makes it a key component of medication and cosmetics. Encapsulating active substances is called ‘formulation'.
IN FLOW promotes a new, cutting-edge way of formulation: flow chemistry. This involves a new type of flow reactor that makes the process more efficient, reliable, safe and flexible. Its dimensions illustrate these advantages: while conventional reactors have the size of a room, the new flow reactor measures only 80 centimetres in length. This makes flow chemistry a promising technology that allows the development of novel, high-potential products for the healthcare, pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry.
IN FLOW – an acronym for innovation and flow technology - encourages the introduction of flow tech-based products on the market. Flow technology has already delivered batches and has a Technology Readiness Level rated at 3. IN FLOW will prepare the step to market-testing (Technology Readiness Levels 6-7). The project’s Open Technology Platform should support companies in this process. It serves as a company database and as a platform to share know-how, technology, protocols, validation, hardware, facilities and end-product delivery. Already 7 companies from 4 regions of the Euregio have already signed up. IN FLOW’s second objective is to develop infrastructure and best practices. Finally, the project will run 3 pilots in 4 different regions, with companies responding to end-user demands.
IN FLOW departs from the know-how from a previous Interreg project, BioMIMedics. This project delivered research on nanomaterials, including medical applications such as drug delivery. BioMIMedics ran during Interreg IV.
IN FLOW is led by University of Liège and runs from 2018 until 2021.