Meet Desmond (Des) Morrow, Head of Innovation, who joined Argenta in 2014. A pharmacist by education, his passion for science and drug delivery technology led him to pursue a PhD at Queen’s University Belfast, looking at improving drug delivery across the skin. He started his career in human until the opportunity arose to relocate from Northern Ireland to New Zealand to work in animal health at Argenta—a decision he never regretted.
The drive behind the innovation
When asked about what fuels his daily motivation, Des shares, “I am passionate about science, and drug delivery technology in particular. Animal health is such a varied field in terms of different animal physiology and husbandry practices, and while the animal receives the medication, the pet parent or farmer has to administer it, so we need to take all factors into account. It adds a layer of complexity to drug delivery, which makes my role both more challenging and rewarding.
“Working at Argenta is the perfect blend of science and collaboration. As a contract research, development and manufacturing organisation (CRO/CDMO), we have the opportunity to work alongside fantastic people both within Argenta and also with our many customers all over the globe. This, combined with the diverse range of projects and products that we get to develop and help bring to market, makes it an exciting place to work.”
Pushing boundaries in drug delivery
Argenta’s ‘molecule to market’ offering enables our customers to develop a compound from a ‘white powder’ all the way through to a finished dosage form, all with just one partner. Des explains, “Argenta has five drug delivery technologies, which give our customers a platform to support and accelerate their product development. For example, our controlled-release intraruminal capsule provides zero-order drug delivery, which means that the drug is released at a constant rate, across the delivery period—up to 300 days. Our microsphere technology can be interesting for companies that are working on sustained-release products for companion animals. These kinds of technologies reduce the animal handling for administering treatments, contributing to both animal and owner wellbeing. People who have ever tried to pill a cat will acknowledge this.”
Tackling industry challenges with innovation
Des is particularly intrigued by the challenge of methane mitigation in ruminants, a recent focus area showing promising developments. He notes, "Significant reductions in methane output have been achieved with new feed additives. However, delivering these compounds, especially to pasture-based animals, presents unique challenges, necessitating innovative delivery solutions."
Des is optimistic about the robustness of the animal health industry, emphasising the importance of sustainable practices and reduced antibiotic reliance. "Technologies and initiatives that prioritise sustainability will be pivotal," he says. “As for companion animals, small molecules will continue to be important, and more and more human medicines are being registered for pets. Companies with the experience and know-how to do this cost-effectively and timely will be instrumental.”
Want to learn more?
Eager to dive deeper into the world of drug delivery technologies and Des's groundbreaking work? Download the eBook where he shares his knowledge about microsphere technology, or visit our webpage about all Argenta's novel drug delivery technologies.