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Dr. Richard Jones

Dr. Richard JonesA desire to give up a bad habit was the driving force behind one of the most successful inventions to come out of the University of Alberta. Dr. Richard Jones, a professor of Pulmonary Medicine, developed and patented a nicotine nasal spray, which is effective in helping people quit smoking.

NicotrolThe idea for the nasal spray came to him in 1989, when he was flying as a bush pilot in northern Canada. Two men who had been isolated deep in the woods, without cigarettes, showed him a remedy they had created for their nicotine cravings. Their solution consisted of scavenged cigarette butts that were liquefied and then put into an empty nasal spray container, so the men could inhale their homemade brew. Jones brought this idea back to the University, and experimented with different formulas, often acting as his own guinea pig.

University of Alberta logoAfter finding a solution that worked, Jones had to convince the University, the patent agent, the patent examiner and the potential licensee of the novel aspects and importance of his invention. In fact, he had to write more than 150 letters in support of his discovery. The invention was patented in 1995 and licensed to Pharmacia, a large Swedish pharmaceutical company. It is not yet available in Canada, but is sold in the Europe, as well as the United States, where the product is manufactured as Nicotrol, through pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc.

Jones has been with the University of Alberta since 1971 and is currently working on improving the nasal spray with smaller doses of nicotine. He has recently received the patent, and is now looking for a company to market his product.

Much of the information on this page is from "Patent Portraits, A Celebration of Inventions and Patents from the University of Alberta," published in 1996 by the Office of the Vice-President (Research and External Affairs) in collaboration with the Industry Liaison Office, now known as the Research Services Office.

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