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3M gets under the skin of drug delivery

By Nick Taylor , 17-Jul-2008

3M Drug Delivery Systems believes it has made an advance in the administration of high potency therapeutics through the skin using its solid microstructured transdermal system (sMTS).

The proof of concept device was shown at the Controlled Release Society in New York that ran from 12-16 July, with 3M believing the technology will expand the range of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) that can be delivered transdermally. 3M has been working on transdermal technologies for 30 years, with the company previously using it for the delivery of vaccines but this latest development may be a milestone in broadening the range of applications.


John Simons, microstructured transdermal project manager at 3M, said: "These studies demonstrate that our sMTS technology can quickly and effectively deliver molecules not typically compatible with traditional transdermal technologies into the bloodstream. "The sMTS provides delivery that combines the ease and convenience of a transdermal patch with the speed and efficiency of a subcutaneous injection. This technology will help pharmaceutical providers differentiate their products with a minimally invasive and more comfortable self-administration method."


By using its MTS 3M has stated it can bypass the stratum corneum, the outer layer of skin cells, and deliver therapeutics to the subcutaneous regions beneath. The therapeutic is coated onto the outside of a microstructure and then released upon penetrating the stratum corneum. sMTS is said to have achieved positive in vivo results, with data on depth of penetration, timed release, and demonstration of systemic delivery all being viewed favourably by 3M.


In particular 3M's poster at the show highlighted sMTS' effectiveness in delivery of naloxone, a therapeutic used to counter the effects of an opioid overdose. The research found that bioavailability and pharmacokinetic profile of naloxone when delivered via sMTS was comparable to subcutaneous administration, which is the usual delivery method.


3M reported that naloxone was released very quickly following administration of the patch, with the majority of the initial array content being delivered within 30 seconds.


By broadening the range of therapeutics which can be delivered via its transdermal patch 3M believes it can reduce the need for injections in the drug administration, resulting in minimal discomfort for the patient.

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