Revolutionising MedTech packaging

Close up of surgery tools on a light blue cloth

Nelipak Healthcare Packaging is a leader in the design, development and manufacture of custom-designed healthcare packaging for the medical device and pharmaceutical industries, serving customers from some of the largest and most reputable medical device and pharmaceutical companies in the world. The company values the research and expertise available at Athlone IT and has engaged across several research projects.

Most recently, Nelipak engaged in a collaborative research project with the Smart Polymers Research Group in the Materials Research Institute at TUS (formerly AIT). The Materials Research Institute is one of the largest melt processing research centres in Ireland. It comprises specialists in polymer formulation, pharmaceutical science, toxicology, biology, polymer engineering, medical device manufacturing and critical care medicine. Carried out under an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership project that completed in 2019, the results of the research have positioned Nelipak to develop a novel self-sterilising packaging system that will revolutionise the field of medical device sterilisation.

Speaking of the research undertaken Dr Luke Geever, Principal Investigator at the Materials Research Institute and Technology Innovation Manager at the Enterprise Ireland funded Applied Polymer Technologies Gateway (APT) said, “This research is innovative across the medical device packaging and sterilisation markets and holds potential to make the sterilisation process more efficient in a market which has remained relatively unchanged until recent developments have called for more cost effective and timely sterilisation processes. If developed successfully, the novel self-sterilising packaging system will lead to a system that will be a game changer in the field of medical device sterilisation.”

Nelipak and AIT have secured funding from Enterprise Ireland for a second Innovation Partnership that is currently underway and seeks to build on the knowledge and expertise gained from the recent collaborative research project. It is envisaged there will be a licensing opportunity for Nelipak to commercially exploit the IP generated from the collaboration.

The Innovation and Enterprise Office at TUS supported the collaborative arrangement from the outset including the preparation of agreements and reviewing project progress and completion. The office was also involved in the identification of IP generated during the project. The Innovation and Enterprise Office has facilitated and supported the follow-on Innovation Partnership that is currently underway and continues to work with and support the parties involved.

Seán Egan, Global Director of Marketing & Voice of Customer Development at Nelipak said “The technical know-how and support from AIT has been instrumental in gaining support from the wider business to continue the partnership through the next phases and helping bring industry partners on-board to provide support with next steps.”

He also expects significant market potential to open up as a result of the research saying “It’s envisaged that additional markets beyond medical device OEMs will become available to Nelipak following successful commercialisation of the results. The success to date has encouraged Nelipak to look at further opportunities to engage in research collaboration with AIT around material technology.”

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