"Altair was primarily concentrating on new delivery systems that would use the known advantages of inorganic ceramic nanomaterials - large surface areas and low biological absorption," said Rudi Moerck, president of Altair Nanotechnologies. "Now the company is focusing its research effort on new ceramic materials that directly advance the science of phosphate removal in dialysis patients. These ceramic compounds were not developed by applying known active pharmaceutical ingredients on the surface of the nanoparticles, but rather are a new type of ceramic that does the job of phosphate removal directly."

If left untreated, high phosphate levels can cause brittle bone disease and calcification of the circulatory system. Altair's new drug has the potential to bind phosphates directly in a dialysis device during kidney dialysis, a feature not demonstrated by other products.

Now, the treatment must undergo the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s new drug application process. Altair says that it is likely to conduct this in partnership with a pharmaceutical business. The company is also seeking a partnership with kidney dialysis device manufacturers.