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Hovione gets US patent for simple, patient-inspired inhaler

By Fiona BARRY , 15-Apr-2014
Last updated on 16-Apr-2014 at 09:39 GMT

Hovione's three-part dry powder inhaler
Hovione's three-part dry powder inhaler

Hovione has obtained a US patent for a cheap capsule-based dry powder inhaler that it claims is cheaper for manufacturers to produce and easier for patients to use.

The Portuguese company, whose main focus is manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), told in-Pharma-Technologist.com the inhaler has only three parts, reducing production costs and making it simpler for patients to use.

To operate the inhaler, patients insert a single-use capsule containing medicine into a tray. Since the device has no metal springs, the capsule is opened by closing the tray, “which elicits a clipping action by two opposing plastic expansions, top and bottom,” said Gonçalo Rebelo de Andrade, Business Development Manager, Hovione.

After inhaling, users can confirm the dose was released by checking visually, and then slide the tray open to dispose of the capsule.

Patient inhalation

Dry powder inhalers (DPIs) work passively, relying on the patient’s inhalation to disperse the drug powder. Hovione told us its inhaler is flow-independent above 30L per minute, meaning it is compatible with different patients’ various lung performance and breathing flow rates.

The company also said the inhaler dispersed “fine particle fractions in excess of 70%,” meaning 70% of the delivered dose (with a Mass Median Aerodynamic Diameter under 5 micrometres) is effectively delivered to the lung.

This makes this inhaler highly suited for inhalation applications where minimal training of patients is desirable and has the versatility to treat most pulmonary diseases, including asthma, COPD [Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease] as well as infection, which typically requires very large doses,” said the company.

De Andrade told inPharma-Technologist.com the inhaler is currently in the industrialization stage, with metal cavity moulds currently being made for clinical development programmes planned in the second and third quarters of 2014. The device does not yet have FDA approval.

The company told our reporter it plans to license the delivery technology to pharmaceutical companies and is in discussions about tailoring drug formulations to the inhaler.

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