Cambridge Consultants creates novel drug auto-injector
20 November 2011
Technology design and development company Cambridge Consultants has announced that it had created a novel auto-injector concept that has been ergonomically designed to be easy to hold and use.
Called Flexi-ject, it comfortably fits into the hand, simply requires the user to press the device against their skin to deliver a 1ml dose of drug, rather than having to simultaneously hold the device in the correct position and press a button.
Auto-injectors are used to treat a range of conditions including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Onset of rheumatoid arthritis is generally between 40-60 years of age and is prevalent in 0.5-1% of the adult population. With an ageing population in many Western counties, the numbers affected are potentially set to increase.
To create a device which is considerably more compact than existing auto-injectors, the drug delivery team at Cambridge Consultants designed a unique mechanical trigger mechanism, and incorporated a novel flexible primary pack, called Fleximed, developed by Neopac a world leader in high barrier tubes. By moving away from the standard glass primary pack and designing around a flexible one, the team was able to rethink the look and feel of the device to give it strong ergonomic appeal. The team estimates that the device could be manufactured in volume for less than US$5 per unit, making it highly competitive with existing products on the market.
With the overall size of the design being just over 11cm long, it has been designed to fit into a handbag or coat pocket, so as to improve the way this critical drug delivery device can integrate into patients’ everyday lives.
Flexi-ject has been designed to be extremely easy to use in a simple four step process; open – load the Fleximed tube – close – deploy. The action of opening and closing the device resets the mechanical parts within the device so that it is activated when pressed against the skin. Its ‘egg-shaped’ design makes it easy to hold and stable to use for patients, which is especially important for certain types of patients with limited muscle control or joint pain.
The design also incorporates the ability to change the needle depth (depending on which part of the body the device is being used on), and an end-of-dose indicator to reassure users that they have correctly received the full drug dose. Unlike the auto-injectors currently used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis, Flexi-ject has been designed to be re-used with an individually pre-packed drug dose, so that waste can be minimized and the cost per dose reduced.
Matthew Allen, Director of Drug Delivery at Cambridge Consultants said, “With our reputation for creating world class drug delivery devices, I am delighted to see us coming up with yet another innovation in the way that we see drugs being dispensed. In a competitive market place, devices that are designed with the user in mind, and recognize their need for products that fit with their lifestyle, are much more likely to succeed. I hope this novel design will stimulate thought and debate amongst the industry about how we can take advantage of innovations in both design and packaging to enhance people’s lives.”