Ann Conkle
May 1, 2012

New device will speed up drug development

Two Michigan State University researchers have invented a protein purifier that will make  pharmaceutical production quicker and cheaper. Chemists Merlin Bruening and Greg Baker have created high-performance membranes for protein purification, a crucial step in drug development. Purifying proteins, the process of isolating a single, desired protein from all others, is an expensive, time-consuming hurdle that contributes to the high cost of some prescription drugs. Streamlining the process could help manufacturers reduce costs and speed new drugs to consumers. "The membrane devices that we've manufactured can simplify protein purification by rapidly capturing the desired protein as it flows through membrane pores," said Bruening, who has patented the process. "Our membranes have two to three times more capacity than existing commercial devices, and they should reduce the purification process time substantially."