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May 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 9)

Firms Get a Handle on Injectable Delivery

Latest Needle-Free Devices Aim to Deliver the Goods without the Pain, Hassle, and Expense

  • Continued progress in drug discovery and development is increasing the potential number of injectable drugs. As a result, pharmaceutical companies are collaborating with drug delivery firms to address patients’ concerns and needs, and to maximize revenues. Management Forum’s recent “Injectable Drug Delivery” conference provided insight on how companies are improving device design and, subsequently, delivery.

    According to Matthew Young, founder and CEO at Oval Medical Technologies, needle-free injectors were fashionable ten years ago but still had some disadvantages—they were not always painless, the high forces required to drive a drug into tissues made them expensive, and extra steps were often required to fill and use them compared to disposable autoinjectors. In addition, many biological drugs could be damaged by a device’s high-shear forces.

    Working for a design consultancy agency specializing in delivery devices, Young found that many problems with autoinjectors start with the primary drug container. The syringes can contain various contaminants (silicone, tungsten, rubber), which can negatively affect biological drugs. The containers are fragile, and needle safety is a concern due to the rubber needle cover that must be manually removed before injection and the variable and high forces required to move the plunger.

    Oval has filed four patent applications, and its new technology platform provides a range of benefits to contain and deliver injectable drugs, Young said. Advantages include: reduced potential for contamination, ease of use, less painful, and less expensive, he reported, adding that the technology can accommodate more viscous drugs with various needle lengths for subcutaneous, IM, and IV bolus delivery, with volumes ranging from 0.1 mL to 2.0 mL.

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