Could transdermal technology using polymer microneedles be suitable for self-administration of Covid-19 vaccines?
Innoture specialise in transdermal treatment delivery systems. The company utilises a range of biocompatible polymers to produce the individual microneedles as well as the backing substrate for the patch. The microneedles are made from UV curable polymer, and the backing substrate material is PVC or a similar product to allow for sufficient pressure to be applied across the whole patch. This ensures efficient delivery of the vaccine into the skin.
Polymer microneedles appear to be less aggressive on the skin and minimise pain and discomfort for the patient as a result. Innoture’s current patch is over 90% recyclable and the organisation are working to further improve sustainability and develop biodegradable polymers that work for the microneedle patch and are environmentally friendly.
The research is being conducted at Innoture’s laboratories located in the Institute of Life Science (ILS2) at Swansea University in Wales. The patch will be tested to deliver a vaccine dose via the skin, as well as achieve a simple and secure disposal process to enable at-home use.
Dr Michael Graz, chief scientific officer, Innoture, commented: “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine developers and manufacturers face a major challenge to rapidly develop and upscale their vaccination programmes as the demand for needles, glass vials plus other treatment delivery supplies, increases. Therefore, it is vital that alternative delivery options are considered by the UK and international health community.”
He added: “‘Our transdermal delivery system has the potential to improve patient experience and significantly reduce the burden on the NHS and other healthcare systems. The patch is painless and minimally invasive for patients to self-administer. At a time when self-isolation is necessary, the patch can be applied with ease in the home under guidance from a healthcare professional, reducing the need for people to attend a clinic. In addition, for healthcare professionals, it shortens consultation or appointment times and potentially removes the need for cold-chain storage.”
Ken Jones, chief executive officer, Innoture, added: “We are pleased to announce the launch of this research as it represents a significant milestone for our company, and further validation of our next-generation transdermal delivery system. We are actively seeking new partners from the global pharmaceutical industry, academia, and non-governmental organisations to collaborate with us on this study. We believe that our innovative technology will make a meaningful difference to improve patient and public health.”
From：medical plastics news