People living with chronic diseases often have to treat themselves at home using a medical device like an auto-injector. The process can be nerve-wracking, because it requires the patient to follow a number of important steps – like properly storing their drugs and warming them to the correct temperature at the time of injection.
These difficulties were part of what prompted Cambridge Design Partnership to create Klarus, an auto-injector that they say will be transformative. All the patient has to do is pick up the reusable auto-injector from its base station when prompted and then inject themselves before returning the device.
“It’s the Nespresso of auto-injectors,” Uri Baruch, head of drug delivery at CDP, said in prepared remarks. “Klarus will store drugs at the correct temperature and warm them up when required – minimizing the pain of injecting cold medication. It will then prepare the auto-injector with the correct needle and medication cartridge, and prompt the patient to take their drug.
“After injection, Klarus will collect the needle and cartridge ready for safe disposal – alerting the patient when supplies are running low, and reordering if required. The base station technology could be adapted to cope with multiple users and different medications – either in the home or at a small clinic, for example. It uses fingerprint recognition technology to identify the correct user each time and a childproof lock to prevent accidental use.”
The U.K.-based design firm suggested that the device could be used to treat chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or to administer vaccines. It also could be used to treat cancer patients with drugs that are traditionally given in a hospital setting, the company said.
“All too often, patients with a chronic disease face the additional burden of struggling with a complex treatment regimen at home,” Baruch added. “Learning how to use a new drug delivery device and remembering multiple treatment steps can be challenging – particularly for the elderly or those with dexterity issues. That’s one of the reasons why adherence rates are often low – many patients just give up or fail to take their medication correctly.
“Our Klarus system alleviates that burden for the patient and helps ensure they get the full benefit from their treatment. It automates many of the use steps commonly missed or not carried out by patients – such as checking the use-by date or remembering to inject when following an irregular therapy schedule. We’ve used state-of- the-art technology and applied our user experience and human factors expertise – together with our knowledge of medical device regulation and our skills in electronics, mechanical engineering, software and connectivity – to create a radically new approach to drug delivery.”
The firm said that its device is expected to cost healthcare providers $1,000 per system, while the cartridges would cost around $2 apiece. A traditional single-use auto-injector can cost $10, the company pointed out, so having a reusable system could eventually prove cost-effective and environmentally friendly.