Skip to main content

Pharmaceutical breakthrough wins innovation award

Media release

A Curtin University PhD student’s research, that spells a breakthrough in pharmaceutical technology, has been awarded an Early Research Career Award in the Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards.

Mr Andreas Hartmann from IP specialist firm Griffith Hack presents Mr Chirag Desai with his award

Mr Chirag Desai won the award for his development of a new drug-delivery method that can make drugs safer and more effective for patients.

His research endeavours have won him a prize valued at $7 000 including a cash award of $2,000, which he plans to use to attend a scientific conference, plus $5,000 of commercialisation services from award sponsors.

This is a major breakthrough because the new emulsion method improves the safety profile of drugs, meaning it reduces adverse reactions, and increases a drug’s ‘bioavailability’, meaning more of the active drug reaches the patient’s circulatory system.

Mr Desai said he had been working on the project since 2008, and had been collaborating with a pharmaceutical company and undertaking clinic trials with Royal Perth Hospital (RPH).

“It’s been such a privilege to work with the likes of Professor Fiona Wood, Director of the RPH Burns Unit and the Western Australian Burns Service in making my research come to life,” Mr Desai.

“I can’t thank my supervisor, Emeritus Professor Bruce Sutherland in the School of Pharmacy, enough for all of the continuous support and leadership he has provided me with throughout my PhD.”

Curtin’s Head of the School of Pharmacy, Professor Jeff Hughes, said he was extremely proud of Mr Desai’s achievement.

“This breakthrough offers real commercial potential and will provide significant benefits to our community,” Professor Hughes said.

The Curtin Commercial Innovation Awards were established in 2007 to celebrate the commercialisation efforts of Curtin staff and students. The competition is now a focal point of the innovation calendar in Western Australia.


Emeritus Professor Bruce Sunderland, School of Pharmacy Professor Bruce Sunderland
Tel: 08 9266 7377    Email:

Chirag Desai, PhD Student, Curtin University

Hillary Lambert, Public Relations, Curtin University
Tel: 08 9266 1930   Email:   Web:  Twitter: CurtinPR