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The Future of Auto-Injectors

The past 20 years have seen significant progress in the treatment of chronic diseases, with the development of disease-modifying biologic drugs to treat a wide range of autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, and migraines, as well as hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Alongside the approval of new molecular entities, drug delivery device technology also plays a significant role in improving disease management in these indications. In particular, the use of auto-injectors has increased the opportunity for self-administration of these drugs and, since the introduction of the first devices around 15 years ago, more than 30 different drug-auto-injector combination products have entered the market. The approach brings benefits to key stakeholders:

  • For patients, it offers the convenience of medication at home, avoiding the time and effort of a visit to a clinic. Although pre-filled systems can be used for self-administration, auto-injectors make administration easier and are particularly suited for higher viscosity drugs, which require higher injection forces than those that can be easily provided with a manual injection
  • For pharmaceutical companies, it can provide a source of differentiation that can sustain or grow market share, or offer lifecycle management opportunities to reduce the threat of biosimilar competitors. Although difficult to prove, greater patient convenience may also lead to improved medication adherence (which reduces loss of revenue) and improved healthcare outcomes (which could facilitate value-based payments and/or higher reimbursement)

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Iain Simpson is a Director of Front-End Innovation at Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company. He is part of a global team developing industry-leading solutions and platforms for drug delivery, digital medicine, and connected health. He has more than 30 years’ experience in multi-disciplinary technology and product development. He has a degree and PhD in Physics from University College London, UK, and an MBA in Technology Management from the Open University. He has published and presented at conferences on drug delivery, digital biomarkers, healthcare technology, and technology licensing. He is an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge, UK, in Bioscience Enterprise.
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