Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

UA professor helps develop liquid aspirin

There are millions of Americans who suffer from some form of pain, whether it is joint, head, or other pains.

However, Robin Rogers, a professor of in the chemistry department at the University, has worked with a team for the past two years in developing a liquid-based aspirin.

Rogers said the solution has boundless potential for pain management, including its own application.

“This might allow this drug to be delivered more effectively through the skin than ingested orally through the stomach,” Rogers said.

Starting in 2007, Rogers and a small team of post-doctoral and graduate students began collaboration with Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has held dual appointments there since then, returning to the United States in August 2009.

Unlike most drugs, which are composed of crystal salts, the new pharmaceutical is composed primarily of liquid salts, also known as ionic liquids.

“We put the proposition to the scientific community that there was no need for the salt to be salt,” Rogers said. “We’ve been arguing that there are unique, therapeutic benefits to having a pharmaceutical in the form of a liquid salt at room temperature.”

Rogers said he has been involved in the field of ionic fluids for nearly 15 years, and that one specific aspect of the field is how it is quickly attracting professionals from various fields.

“My role has been to better understand these systems and to look where they might find interesting application,” Rogers said.

Rogers said because the aspirin is liquid-based, innumerable opportunities abound for it, such as a gel, cream or patch.

“I believe the commercial opportunities will come from some unique aspect of the liquid salt form that you simply can’t get any other way,” Rogers said.

Dan Daly, director of the Alabama Institute for Manufacturing Excellence at the University, partners with Rogers in a UA-based company called 525PM, which deals specifically with pain management. Specifically, Daly is confident that this liquid aspirin, as well as other products put out by the company, have immense potential.

“We think the technology is extremely exciting and has lots of attributes,” Daly said.

However, Daly said the product needs one thing most is a company that can stand behind it in support.

“What we’re hoping to do is find a pharmaceuticals or drug commercialization partner that would join together with us in these various stages of testing,” Daly said.

Due to the various phases of testing and research, the process of becoming funded and commercially viable can take between two to three years.

“When you start something like this from a fundamental discovery, it’s a long hard process,” Rogers said. “It can pay off in the end, but to be entrepreneurial takes a lot of effort.”

Daly maintained that though the process toward becoming commercial is long and grueling, he still believes the liquid aspirin product can make the rounds and really become interesting to potential investors.

“One exciting aspect is that it can offer a pharmaceutical company a brand new novel compound with 20 years of patentability,” Daly said.

Daly said there will be meeting with potential investors known as AIME Day, where various pharmaceutical companies will be meeting with investors, pitching presentations and networking. AIME Day will take place April 5.

With everything happening so quickly, Daly remains confident.

“I think we’ll have several success stories,” Daly said.

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