Work to end the 160-year reign of terror of the hypodermic needle received a booster shot of sorts recently with the infusion of $1 million in funding for research being conducted by Vancouver’s Microdermics Inc., into a more efficient and less painful way of delivering vaccines and biologics.
The financing round included investors from the US, Canada, and Switzerland, and will be used for scale-up and clinical validation studies in support of current and future corporate collaborations. The round closed in March.
We’ve seen countless advances in the field of medicine since the 1800s, however, in these age of the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and robots children and not a few adults are required to roll up their sleeves, and squirm, wince and yell as they take the needle.
Microdermics envisions a novel drug delivery system uses tiny microneedles that are less than 1 mm long. The company said this method provides a “safer, less painful, more efficient, and more cost-effective means for therapy.”
That’s because Microdermics’ microneedles deliver medicine into the upper dermis. They avoid blood vessels and nerve tissue,” resulting in improved biological responses.”
What’s more, this drug delivery system is commercially scalable, customizable,
less painful, and addresses widespread “needle phobia.”
“Over 1 billion people around the world suffer from ‘needle phobia’ and avoid injections,” said Grant Campany, president and chief executive officer of Microdermics. “This represents one of the most significant health-related market failures in the world today.”
Around the world there’s a staggering amount of people that avoid critical therapies and vaccinations because of their fear of hypodermic needles, he said.
Microdermics is not the only seeking to replace the traditional hypodermic needle.
Microneedle systems have also been tried before. However, according to the Vancouver-based medical device company, previous attempts encountered limited success because they used materials such as silicone and plastic. These materials limited the commercial scalability and durability of the systems, said Campany.
Microdermics’ microneedle system is made of metal and built via a patented process that is customizable for optimum delivery of vaccines or biologics.
“Our investment in Microdermics is an example of finding an excellent, well-run company providing a solution to a global need,” said Ray Chan, founding partner of K5 Ventures. “We are so excited to support development and commercialization of this delivery system, which will be beneficial and have a huge impact on so many around the world.”
“Microdermics’ innovative solution, experienced team, and great potential for positive health impact make it a great addition to the high calibre of new ventures that continue to bloom here at UBC,” Todd Farrell, president e@UBC Seed Fund said.
“We are always on the lookout for innovative technologies that give the end user a more convenient and less invasive experience and provides superior efficacy for the drugs or vaccines being delivered, said Peter Craddock, managing director of Shoreline Ventures. “Their unique approach addressed both of these and we are delighted to be part of this exciting opportunity.”
Another benefit of Microdermics’ microneedle delivery system is its efficacy.
Traditional vaccines currently delivered with a hypodermic needle go into muscle.
However, it is well-documented that the same vaccine delivered to the upper dermis delivers the same effect with less dosage, according to Microdermics.
This presents an entirely new economic model for vaccine companies since this translates into an exponentially higher use of either traditional such as flu and rabies vaccines or rare ones such as yellow fever vaccines.
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