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Needle-free drug delivery device eases the pain of injections

12 December 2017

MIT spinout Portal Instruments’ smart, needle-free injection device could reduce the pain and anxiety associated with needle injections.

MIT spinout Portal Instruments has landed a commercialization deal for a smart, needle-free injection device (Credit: Portal Instruments)

The Portal device was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the laboratory of Professor Ian Hunter. The device jet-injects a rapid, high-pressure stream of medicine, as thin as a strand of hair, through the skin in adjustable doses. A smart app tracks each dose, monitoring the effects and uploads the data to the Cloud for patients and doctors to review. 

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited and Portal Instruments recently announced a collaboration to develop and commercialise Portal’s needle-free drug delivery device for potential use with Takeda’s investigational or approved biologic medicines. The technology has the potential for applications across a range of biologic medicines that currently require administration through an injection.

The first Takeda development programme to potentially utilise this device will be for investigational use with Entyvio (vedolizumab), a monoclonal antibody for adults with moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC) or Crohn’s disease (CD), which is currently administered through intravenous infusion. A Phase III clinical trial programme is currently evaluating the efficacy and safety of a subcutaneous formulation of vedolizumab in adults with moderately to severely active UC or CD.

“There is a need for options to keep improving the experience for patients with life-long, chronic conditions that are managed with the intravenous infusions of biologic medicines,” said Stefan Koenig, Global Programme & Brand Lead at Takeda. “This partnership with Portal demonstrates Takeda’s leadership in supporting patients with GI diseases and our commitment to evolve the management of these diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, by potentially offering patients the ability to administer treatment in their own at home with a needle-free system.”

Based on research by Ian Hunter, the George N. Hatsopoulos Professor in Thermodynamics at MIT (Credit: Portal Instruments)

“Working with Takeda to adapt the Portal device underscores our mission to empower patients with a leading, next-generation drug delivery platform for self-administration that is designed to reduce the pain and anxiety associated with needle injections in addition to reducing administration time,” said Patrick Anquetil, CEO of Portal. “This partnership allows us to work collaboratively with Takeda’s highly experienced R&D team and provides the first opportunity to introduce the Portal device to patients, a pivotal step as we continue to expand its potential and grow our business.”

Portal’s needle-free drug delivery device delivers the biologic through a pressurised liquid instead of a needle, and has been clinically shown to be less painful and preferred by patients compared to a standard needle-based injection. This needle-free device is expected to be self-administered by patients at home.

Under terms of the agreement, Portal will receive an initial payment with the potential to earn additional payments of up to $100 million subject to achievement of specified development, regulatory and sales-based milestones and royalties.

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