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Cross-Over Tech

Therapies to treat respiratory diseases account for about 10% of the global pharmaceutical market. Specialised devices and technologies exist to efficiently deliver drugs to treat respiratory diseases. Pressurised aerosol metered dose inhalers were first introduced in the 1950s; these were then followed in the 1960s and 70s by dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and nebulisers. In one form or another, they have been around for several decades. Finding technical solutions to the many challenges associated with these drug delivery technologies can be difficult. Technical solutions can be sought by looking at how such challenges were overcome in adjacent drug delivery areas, such as injectables and nasal drug delivery devices.

Respiratory Technologies


Since metered dose inhaler devices (MDI) were originally introduced in 1956, and since DPIs first reached the marketplace in the 1960s, inhalation device technology has seen significant advances in the last 60 years. Some of these innovations in the administration of inhaled drugs and how these advances have already been or could be applied to delivery systems in other related drug delivery fields will be looked at. Additionally, the reverse – how technology from other drug delivery fields, such as nasal and injectable devices, have already impacted or could impact respiratory drug delivery – will also be considered. Technical challenges, all the way from age-old concerns such as toxicological issues to modern day advances such as connected technologies, will be discussed.

Innovative Materials

The injectables field can provide interesting technical solutions to meet respiratory technological challenges. One such example is the use of cyclic olefin copolymer elastomers (COCe), a material well-known and used in the injectables industry and other pharmaceutical applications (1). A list of attractive features such as sealing efficiency, moisture resistance and cleanliness make it an excellent candidate for static gasket sealing systems for MDIs. This technology has now been developed to industrial-scale for use in inhalation devices and is a good example of cross-over technology between different application fields. COCe as an innovative sealing material can offer several advantages to the overall stability and performance of MDI products incorporating this kind of valve-to-canister sealing technology.

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Dr Gerallt Williams is Director of Scientific Affairs at Aptar Pharma, France. After obtaining his PhD from the University of Wales, UK, in 1985, he has held various industrial positions at Monsanto and Fisons in the UK, Valois in France and Inhale/Nektar Therapeutics in the US. He is now in charge of scientific affairs for the Aptar Pharma Prescription Division, Le Vaudreuil, France, and is engaged in the development of new devices for nasal, inhaled and injectable drug products. 
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