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Pharma Companies Buzz Over Auto-Injectors Showing Success with High Viscosity Drugs

By Zachary Brennan , 02-May-2013
Last updated on 03-May-2013 at 01:03 GMT

Drugmakers Seek Auto-Injectors Dealing with High Viscosity Compounds

New auto-injector technology that is user-friendly and capable of delivering high viscosity drugs may be the next big thing for pharma and biotech companies pushing further into niche biologics and biosimilars.

For instance, Oval Medical Technologies recently announced its latest auto-injector successfully delivered a solution nearly equivalent to the thickness of motor oil through a 25G needle in less than seven seconds.

Louisa Harvey, a consultant for Oval, told In-Pharmatechnologist.com that the auto-injector is about half the size of other currently marketed auto-injectors.

A lot of the devices on market have a 1mL glass syringe,” such as those offered by Becton Dickinson, Harvey added, noting that many of them use rubber stoppers that require silicon and contain traces of tungsten that “a lot of the new biologics coming out have problems with.”

There aren’t any known auto-injector devices with a needle currently on the market that can deliver viscosities greater than 1100 cPs, the company noted.

In terms of the market for auto-injectors, Oval has begun targeting pharma and biotech compaies with drugs in Phase II, which is when companies tend to select a device to accompany their treatment. The majority of such drugs that would use this type of device involve therapeutic areas such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other auto-immune diseases.

In the auto-injector market, the EpiPen is the common. Others include SureClick, which can deliver both Amgen blockbusters Enbrel for rheumatoid arthritis patients and Aranesp for anemia patients.

But Oval thinks it might have its own niche market in the making. “Of the top 20 pharma companies in the world,” Oval has probably had discussions with 16 of them, Harvey noted.

With only 20 employees, the company is still in its early stages, though feasibility studies with some of the pharma companies have proven successful so far and the company has not “had any stability issues,” Harvey said.

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