Vetter inks ‘pain-free’ needle deal to meet alternative drug delivery demand

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/Remains
Image: iStock/Remains

Related tags: Drug delivery, Hypodermic needle

Vetter Pharma has signed a strategic agreement to develop Microdermics’ microneedle drug delivery technology.

Ravensburg, Germany-based Vetter said the hollow, metal microneedles in Microdermics delivery platform can administer biologics and vaccines into the intradermal space via a pain-free injection.

And according to the contract development and manufacturing organization (CDMO), the agreement precedes a predicted increase in innovative drug delivery technologies.

“The market in novel alternatives to needle injections is forecasted to grow rapidly, and will – according to a Roots Analysis report – be reaching in excess of 480 million units by 2030,”​ spokesperson Markus Kirchner told in-PharmaTechnologist.

While the company explained limited investment in scalable aseptic manufacture at the later phases of development to date has hindered commercialisation of the product, it said the agreement will enable late stage process development and device manufacture on a commercial scale, and could alter drug delivery methods in the future.

“We believe that microneedles are a particularly innovative technology and may prove to be a promising future alternative for selected areas of drug delivery,” ​said Vetter senior vice president Claus Feussner.

“Microdermics’ injecting systems will be jointly tested and performance validated in order to enter into dialogue with (bio)pharmaceutical companies on this innovative technology,”​ he said.

Micro vs traditional

Drug delivery-focused Vetter said the commercially scalable, customizable and low-cost microneedles offer advantages to traditional needles.

Whereas traditional hypodermic needles deliver drugs directly into the muscle or subcutaneous space, microneedles inject the drug into the upper dermis, which can speed up drug absorption, said Kirchner.

“This approach presents new opportunities for a couple of therapies due to pharmacokinetically beneficial intradermal injection space, and as drug absorption by the body is accelerated,” ​ Kirchner told us.

Further, according to the firm, an immune response can be triggered by a reduced dose when administered with microneedles.

“For (bio)pharmaceutical companies this can mean an entirely new economic model, i.e., greater efficacy since there is exponentially higher utilization of drug substances,”​ said Kirchner.

Phase I trials to test the effectiveness and reliability of intradermal delivery are expected to begin this year.

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