Meros Polymers Inc.

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May 6, 2013 Issue

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Using Self-Assembling Micelles-Based Technology, Meros Polymers Inc is focused on Commercializing Advanced Drug Delivery Technologies for Injectable Pharmaceuticals

Ronald Matheson


Ron Matheson has over 25 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, progressing from marketing positions to senior executive roles with Mallinckrodt (now Covidien), Schering AG (now Schering-Bayer Pharmaceuticals), and several start-ups (SynChem, AB Biopharma, ACT Pharma, and OncoMetabolics). He has significant experience in patents and licensing as the Business Unit Manager, Medical & Life Sciences at University Technologies International (Univ. of Calgary) and as the Executive-in-Residence, Health Sciences at TEC Edmonton (Univ. of Alberta). Obtaining funding for start-ups from public and private sources has also been a significant activity over the past 10 years.

Meros Polymers Inc.:

Meros Polymers Inc. is a privately-held Alberta corporation formed in 2009 to commercialize advanced drug delivery technologies developed within the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta. The Company is committed to helping our partners utilize our micelle-based technology to broaden their product development.




Meros Polymers Inc.
1500 Manulife Place

10180 – 101 Street

Edmonton, AB, Canada, T5J 4K1




Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – May 6, 2013


CEOCFO: What is the concept at Meros Polymers?

Mr. Matheson: We are commercializing advanced drug delivery technologies for injectable pharmaceuticals. Injectable pharmaceuticals have been an underserved area concerning drug delivery technology, especially for small molecules.


CEOCFO: What does Meros Polymers know that others do not?

Mr. Matheson: We have 3 proprietary polymer systems that we are commercializing. What is unique is that they are self-assembling micelles; you can use conventional manufacturing equipment and processes. When you add water to the mix of active ingredient and polymer, it spontaneously assembles into a micelle of about 80 nanometers in diameter.


CEOCFO: Why has this area been neglected?

Mr. Matheson: Because of the difficulty of achieving micelle stability that is required for sustained release after injection. Oral controlled release type formulations are commonplace. It is much more difficult when you are talking about injectables.


CEOCFO: Where is Meros Polymers in the development process?

Mr. Matheson: We are now conducting safety toxicology, manufacturing and process development for our ExCell polymers. These are made from biocompatible and biodegradable materials with an extensive history of safe use in humans like polyethylene glycol. The combination of materials is unique so we start with the safety toxicology testing. The polymers are essentially biologically inert. 


CEOCFO: What is the timetable?

Mr. Matheson: Short term…we are already talking with companies with the capabilities to develop pharmaceuticals. We are going to be providing formulation expertise as well as polymers to pharmaceutical partners. We are also talking to specialty ophthalmology companies that are interested in this kind of technology for eye drops, and with the Department of Defense for orthopedic and surgical applications.


CEOCFO: Why is orthopedics a good target?

Mr. Matheson: Using that gelling-type polymer that is a liquid at room temperature makes it easy to apply as a spray. If you are in a surgical field where you are concerned about post surgical adhesions you can just spray it on and form a viscous gel around the tissue to protect it from forming adhesions to surrounding tissue. You can also put drugs in that gel, such as Lidocaine, a local anesthetic that would reduce post-surgical use of opiates. You can also use the gel for direct injections, such as for lubricating joints while delivering meds. 


CEOCFO: How did Meros Polymers come across the technology?

Mr. Matheson: Our CSO, Dr. Afsaneh Lavasanifar is a professor of pharmacy at the University of Alberta and is in formulation research. She developed the polymeric systems and the sustained-release approaches at the University of Alberta.


CEOCFO: What have you learned throughout your years in the pharma industry that is most helpful for Meros Polymers?

Mr. Matheson: There are a couple of things. The first thing is an insight into what sort of pharmaceutical that would be desirable to have as an injectable for sustained release or a formulation for the market. I also had involvement in deal structure, contract research integration, contract manufacturing and a whole range of activities that you do in pharmaceutical development.


CEOCFO: Will Meros Polymers be seeking funding?

Mr. Matheson: We have raised some funding in Alberta. We are talking to various companies about partnerships and like any startup we are worrying about the next round of financing.


CEOCFO: Do potential investors understand the concept of Meros Polymers?

Mr. Matheson: We tend to use examples. We give them a vial of the PolyGel and they hold it in their hands to judge the consistency. When they hold it in their hands for a minute, it turns into a viscous gel that will stay on the bottom of the vial when turned upside down. They get a sense of the clinical characteristics of these products. They also appreciate the applications of the product, such as a sustained release drug that covers the cycle of chemotherapy and the surgical applications. They understand the technology when they see the applications.


CEOCFO: With so many applications, how does Meros Polymers choose specific ones?

Mr. Matheson: Our mission is pretty straightforward: partner for product development. We are just finished developing the master file for our ExCell polymer—the chemistry, the manufacturing, control sections, the safety toxicology sections. When it comes to pharmaceuticals we are going to provide our polymers to any company. We will not be focusing on developing a pharmaceutical a partner with a license to our technology will do that. Our focus is fairly limited in scope. At some point in the future, we may develop our own pharmaceutical product but at this point in time we do not have the sufficient amount of capital to do that.


CEOCFO: Why should Meros Polymers stand out to those in the business and investment communities?

Mr. Matheson: We expect to have multiple licenses. Each license is one indication for an active, and there are about two hundred possible licenses. Our operating costs are going to be very well contained to about $2 million a year. Revenue will grow exponentially over time as we add licenses to our base. We are a very passionate group of people and we expect to reward investors and are focused on returning capital to shareholders ASAP.


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“What is unique is that they are self-assembling micelles; you can use conventional manufacturing equipment and processes. When you add water to the mix of active ingredient and polymer, it spontaneously assembles into a micelle of about 80 nanometers in diameter.”- Ron Matheson


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