Prague, 17/10/2022 – The encapsulation of liquid oil droplets (“oil marbles”) technology, which can be used in pharmaceuticals and in food production, represents one of the first cases of the transfer of UCT Prague research results into a spin-off company. UCT Prague has granted intellectual property rights to a new company, MarbleMat, founded by a university employee. This step will enable the commercialization of the new technology, accelerate its ability to be used in industrial applications, and concurrently help the spin-off in negotiations with investors and partners from the commercial sector.
MarbleMat s.r.o., founded by Ing. Ondřej Rychecký from UCT Prague’s Department of Chemical Engineering, signed a license agreement and patent transfer agreement with the University in October 2022. “With this step, our University fulfils its goals in supporting the transfer of knowledge created at UCT Prague into real-world application, and we will also gain experience for other cases of technology commercialization in the form of the establishment of spin-off companies,” says UCT Prague Rector Pavel Matějka.
The technology underpinning MarbleMat’s commercial activity consists in the encapsulation of liquid oil droplets (“oil marbles”) for use in the pharmaceutical and food industries. The device for preparing oil marbles was developed as part of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic’s Zéta project in cooperation with VUTS in Liberec. “A large part of the active substances on the market approved for pharmaceutical use are poorly soluble in water, which leads to low bioavailability. Our technology focuses on these compounds and improves their properties,” explains the creator of the technology, Ondřej Rychecký, a member of Professor František Štěpánek’s research group at UCT Prague who completed his doctoral studies at the Pharmaceutical Applied Research (PARC) centre. “Among the greatest advantages are a more than two-fold increase in the bioavailability of active substances and the possible use of liquid oil marbles as a suitable form for personalized medicine delivery. An example can be filling hard gelatine capsules with oil marbles, with each marble containing a different active compound,” he adds.
The purchase of intellectual property is the beginning of a time-consuming and financially demanding journey on the path towards implementation and use of the technology in the commercial marketplace. MarbleMat wants to achieve its goals through close cooperation with external pharmaceutical companies and expects to launch its first product on the market in the next three to four years. “We are open to further possible cooperation with UCT Prague, which could lead to further ground-breaking R&D advances,” says Ondřej Rychecký.
During the short period of its existence, MarbleMat has secured funding from the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic for the Gama2 project, and it was ranked among the top 20 start-ups in the EIT Health InnoStars Award 2022 competition.
The University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (UCT Prague) is a natural center of study and cutting-edge research. One of the largest educational and research institutions in Central Europe, it specializes in technical chemistry, chemical and biochemical technologies, material and chemical engineering, food chemistry, and environmental studies. Remarkably, of the more than 4,000 students at the school, 700 are enrolled in PhD programs on average. Some of the study programs on offer at UCT are unique in the Czech Republic and are key to the future of the entire country. The school collaborates with more than 100 academic institutions, namely within Europe but also in the USA, Canada, Japan, Vietnam, and elsewhere.
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