The CSIRO and Australian based healthcare company Medical Developments International (MDI) have signed a technology deal to develop a new production process for the drug methoxyflurane, the pain-relieving ingredient used in Pentrox™, commonly known as the ‘green whistle’.


 If successful, the project will see MDI significantly reduce the costs of producing Pemtrox and facilitate the large-scale production of the product in the UK and Europe.


Penthrox is used in Australia as an analgesic by emergency medical practitioners, the defence forces, ambulance and sufe lifesafing services. It has a number of advantages over traditional analgesics, such as nitrous oxide and morphine, in that it is fast acting, self-administered, non-addictive, non-narcotic and safe to use and provides strong pain relief.


The CSIRO is investing $750,000 in the project under its Australian Growth Partnerships (AGP) program, and will strengthen MDI’s position as the sole manufacturer of methoxyflurane.


“The green whistle is already an iconic Australian product which we believe will offer an effective alternative to established products used in hospitals and emergency services in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world. Through our partnership with CSIRO, we hope to scale-up the production of methoxyflurane by developing a smarter, more efficient manufacturing process and in so doing assist MDI deliver on its promising future,” MDI’s CEO John Sharman said.


“This partnership demonstrates how forward-thinking Australian companies can benefit from R&D to grow locally and to expand into global markets,” CSIRI’s biotechnology program leader Paul Savage said.