Caretek Medical Ltd, an Oxford-based company developing an innovative needle-free drug delivery system, today announced that it has signed a feasibility study agreement with a major global pharmaceutical company.
The agreement will see Caretek conduct laboratory tests to determine whether its ImplaJect device can inject a solid dose formulation of one of the pharmaceutical company’s protein based drugs that is currently given to patients in liquid form using a traditional needle and syringe.
The agreement follows hard on the heels of Caretek’s success in raising £2.1 million in December, during an oversubscribed funding round that was completed in four weeks. The round was led by Oxford Technology 4 VCT plc and supported by local business angels.
Caretek’s patented ImplaJect device is the size of a fountain pen and uses a spring mechanism to push solid drugs through the skin into the underlying tissue where they dissolve and are released into the patient’s bloodstream. In clinical trials, volunteers have stated that they preferred injections with the ImplaJect device, rather than with a needle and syringe.
ImplaJect was invented by Dr Charles Potter, Caretek’s founder and Chief Executive Officer, whose previous experience includes six years with PowderJect Pharmaceuticals.
Dr Potter said: “I am delighted with the rapid progress we have made in completing this agreement with a key pharmaceutical player within a month of our funding round. We anticipate that the tests will take about four months and during that time we aim to prove that ImplaJect can effectively deliver a solid and stable formulation. Once feasibility has been demonstrated, we hope that this will lead to the commercial development of this drug, and perhaps others in the company’s portfolio, in a solid form, for use within the ImplaJect system.”
Dr Potter believes that ImplaJect’s ability to deliver solid formulations of liquid drugs produced by this company, and other pharmaceutical partners, means that the device could provide a user-friendly method of drug administration for tens of thousands of patients who currently have to receive protein based drugs in liquid form through a needle and syringe – an uncomfortable process that carries a risk of infection.
He explained: “Given the choice, patients would prefer to receive drugs in an oral tablet form but many drugs, such as insulin, vaccines and emergency medicines, cannot be administered by mouth because they will not be adequately absorbed in the body or they will not act quickly enough. These patients could easily use ImplaJect to self-administer drugs at home, and the ability to deliver solid form drugs through the skin means that the active drug ingredient can be released either immediately or more slowly into the bloodstream, reducing the need for multiple injections.”
The substitution of Caretek’s revolutionary needle-free product for the conventional needle and syringe would also have other valuable benefits.
Dr Potter concluded: “The ImplaJect system has the potential to generate substantial cost savings by eliminating the need to make arrangements for refrigerated storage of liquid drugs and for needle disposal - a major issue as 15 billion needles are used worldwide every year. It could also benefit patients with needle phobia and healthcare staff who suffer needle stick injuries, estimated at 600,000 to 800,000 annually, with the risk of HIV or Hepatitis infection.”