West Pharmaceutical Services is certainly not a new player in the drug-delivery industry. As senior manager for West’s prefilled systems and delivery business, Carl Dabruzzi, noted that the company makes over 40 billion components every year.
This experience has helped West identify some of the trends and opportunities on the horizon in the drug-delivery arena, Dabruzzi said.
“Can we get it away from the hospital, the clinic, and make things the patient can use? The other component around this is we need to manage the complex dosing requirements. We’ve got a lot of high viscosity products and the accuracy and consistency of dosing is becoming more and more critical,” he added.
“Certainly you need a range of products because people are looking for a platform, not only for their new products, but even life cycle management of existing products. Maybe we want to reduce the dosing frequency from a couple times, three, four times a month to one or two times a month and hopefully in the end increase patient compliance.”
West pointed towards its SmartDose wearable injector device as an example of a platform technology. The first-gen device is a user-loaded injector designed to deliver high volumes of viscous drug products.
The second-gen design, Dabruzzi explained, included improvements in usability and was designed to deliver everything from low volumes up to 10 mL. And although the company made changes to the second and third-generation SmartDose products, they intentionally tried not to introduce anything too new to the platform.
“New is problematic for companies and there’s risk and people don’t want that,” Dabruzzi said. “So we try to standardize with the normal filling type materials and fill systems.”
The third-generation device is the first user-loaded product in the SmartDose platform, eliminating the need for the patient to insert the drug cartridge into the injector.
“Anytime you make a patient use something you’re introducing failure modes. We want to reduce failure modes,” Dabruzzi added.