By Graham Reynolds, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships and Business Development,
West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.
As innovations in medicine enable the introduction of new therapies for the treatment of chronic conditions impacting patients around the globe, safely containing and delivering these therapies is top of mind for both pharmaceutical companies and their manufacturing partners. For many new injectable medicines the patient’s first experience is often with the delivery system rather than the drug itself.
A patient- and therapy-centric drug delivery system can open the door to at-home self-injection for medicines that might previously have only been available through multiple injections or IV administration. While a good injection system cannot improve the drug offering, there is a recognition that an inadequate system, meaning one a patient struggles to use effectively and in compliance with the appropriate regimen, may have an impact on both the experience and outcome of that patient.
With the commercialization of Amgen’s Repatha® (evolocumab) available in the once monthly dose via the Pushtronex® system the landscape of injectable medication has changed. The wearable self-injection system, which is the first-generation device from West’s SmartDose™ drug delivery technology platform, was many years in the making. Through an ongoing innovation process, improvements have been made to the platform, including a greater variety of dose delivery options. While potentially impacting time to market, taking the time to qualify how a new delivery system works not only with the drug, but also with the end user, can help to improve patient adherence and compliance to therapeutic regimens.
By partnering with a device or delivery system manufacturer early and often in the drug development journey, pharmaceutical manufacturers can not only move to market with an approved, commercially viable drug delivery system, but also gain valuable insight into the drug product along the way.