NEWS ! Handheld Devices for the Self-Administration of Viscous Drugs

Handheld Devices for Injecting Viscous Drugs Becoming a Defined Market

Purpose-designed Devices are Competing with Legacy Technologies to Create New Options for Drug Developers According to Greystone Research Associates


(Amherst, NH) – As the number of biological drugs continues to increase as a percentage of all approved therapeutics, the need for devices that can administer them has created a significant opportunity and challenge for device designers. Because biologicals often possess viscosities well-above the range traditionally considered the upper limit for handheld injections, drug developers and their device partners have been working to create new ways to deliver high viscosity medicines. In the process they are extending the design envelope for injectable devices as they target a range of viscosities that extend from 20 to over 1000 cp.

The five categories of handheld injection devices that can reliably administer high viscosity drugs include legacy devices, modified designs, non-glass injectors, needle-free injectors and novel devices based upon pressurized gas and mechanical assist designs. As a group this current crop of devices increases the addressable range of viscous drug delivery capabilities in a wide range of use cases.

Injection devices designed to deliver high viscosity drugs employ a number of methods for moving the drug from the primary container, through the cannula or needle, and into the patient. Most of the devices utilize a piston or piston-type method to deliver the drug, although liquified, pressurized gas and mechanically assisted devices have been introduced.

Because the current class of biologicals has been developed for long-term self-administration, they represent the first group of injectables that have been designed with the end user in mind. These drugs are the first beyond insulin and vaccines to limit packaging in vials in favor of prefilled syringes and specialty injection devices. The price points for recombinant protein drugs allow developers to view the higher cost of customized branded delivery devices as an investment in patient compliance and satisfaction.

As the trend toward self-administration continues, the need for careful consideration of primary container design and interaction with biologics, devices, and the patient become more critical. Regulatory scrutiny in this space is likely to continue to increase, requiring a more proactive approach on the part of pharmaceutical/biologic companies to address these questions.

Because a significant number of injectable drugs are being formulated or re-formulated for self-administration, it has become essential for drug developers and their injection device design partners to understand user preferences and to define usability features as they pertain to specific treatment groups. The critical nature of this requirement is further underscored by the design trend in specialty prefilled devices to incorporate a unique look-and-feel to devices in order to achieve product differentiation in the direct-to-consumer marketplace.

The growing impact of high viscosity drugs on healthcare therapeutics and the challenge of administering them are detailed in a new and comprehensive report researched and written by Greystone Research Associates. Handheld Devices for Injecting High Viscosity Drugs analyzes injectable devices capable of administering viscous drugs. The report includes analysis of competitive factors, therapeutic class product positioning, supply chain factors, supplier segment coverage strategies, and the product activities of sector participants.


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About Greystone

Greystone Research Associates is a medical technology consulting firm focused on the areas of medical market strategy, product commercialization, venture development, and market research. We assist medical and healthcare market participants in achieving their business objectives through the creation of detailed development strategies, product commercialization programs, and comprehensive market and technology research and analysis. Our market research publications are designed, researched and written to provide timely and insightful information and data on focused market segments, with the aim of providing market participants with the essential knowledge to refine and execute their marketing plans and financial targets.



Source: Greystone Research Associates