Companies are created from a vision, by thinking strategically and passionately to turn a sound idea into reality. NUCRYST Pharmaceuticals Corp's start came from the desire to improve and broaden silver's therapeutic properties. Using their understanding of quantum mechanics, NUCRYST scientists started thinking small: nano small approaching the quantum/atomic scale. Small variations in structure and composition of nanoscale materials can have a dramatic effect on physical, chemical, biological properties of materials. In 1991, NUCRYST developed a process of forming a thin film of silver nanocrystals to base materials utilizing a custom synthesis called reactive magnetron sputtering, which is a type of physical vapor deposition. The silver nanocrystals are formed atom by atom in a disordered fashion.
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Since this early discovery of its proprietary silver nanocrystalline coating, NUCRYST went on to manufacture, receive regulatory clearance for, and launch the first product, Acticoat™ with SILCRYST™ nanocrystals antimicrobial barrier burn dressings in 1998, with its own sales force. In 2001, NUCRYST entered into its first licensing agreement with Smith & Nephew for the sale, distribution and marketing of Acticoat™ dressings with SILCRYST™ nanocrystals. NUCRYST's agreement with Smith & Nephew give it the benfits of Smith & Nephew's leading worldwide marketing and distribution network, product development expertise and global regulatory capability. Healthcare professionals around the world use Smith & Nephew's Acticoat™ dressings for use in serious wounds, including life-threatening burns and chronic wounds.
Based on interactions with clinicians using Acticoat™ dressings, and the results of laboratory studies, NUCRYST decided to pursue the development of pharmaceutical silver nanocrystals to treat diseases caused by infection or inflammation. This pharmaceutical development began in 2002 with dermatology formulation work that led to an initial phase 2 clinical trial in 2004. NUCRYST has initiated its second Phase 2 human clinical trial of a topical cream formulated with NUCRYST's NPI 32101 which is NUCRYST's nanocrystalline silver in a powder form. The investigational drug (NPI 32101) is being studied for the treatment of atopic dermatitis, a form of eczema. Pharmaceutical research and development is done at the corporate headquarters in Wakefield, Massachusetts, outside Boston. Nanocrystalline technology R&D and manufacturing continues at NUCRYST's facility in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada.