UK-based product development and consultancy firm Cambridge Consultants, in association with Swiss pharma giants Novartis and medical device manufacturers Owen Mumford, have introduced a new injective drug delivery system for the subcutaneous administration of drugs (e.g.: interferon beta-1b) in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), known as the ExtaviPro® 30G auto-injector.
MS is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder which causes inflammation and subsequent damage to the insulatory myelin sheaths that protect the neurons and are vital in transfer of nerve impulses within the central nervous system (CNS). The disease directly affects the brain and spinal cord, leading to vision problems, mental disorders, failure to maintain balance, dizziness, and a host of other symptoms, which prove to be fatal in later stages. Most people experience the first bouts of failure of conduction of nerve impulses and indications of demylination of neurons (also known as Clinically Isolated Syndrome or CIS), followed by “flare-ups” (relapse), which lead to a reappearance of symptoms and exacerbation after a period of comparatively normal health (remission) — a stage of the disease known as Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis, or RRMS. In turn, RRMS often leads to progressive worsening of symptoms and deterioration of health (a condition called Secondary-Progressive Multiple Sclerosis or SPMS). Multiple Sclerosis is the cause of mortality among almost 2.5 million people worldwide, being more common in women than men.
The ExtaviPro® 30G auto-injector is designed to facilitate Interferon beta-1b drug delivery for Multiple Sclerosis patients who are still at the relapsing stage of the disease, The new drug delivery device is innovative in that it balances the amount of pro- and anti-inflammatory cells in the CNS and helps to reduce the number of immune cells crossing the blood-brain barrier, thus enhancing the survival potential of nerve fibers. A group of more than 500 patients and healthcare professionals from throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and mainland Europe have participated in the development of the device.
Previously, surveys had been conducted to check patient satisfaction with the use of injection devices (according to reports published in the September and November 2013 issues of the online journals Pragmatic and Observational Research & Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, both belonging to DovePress), which yielded positive feedback overall. The device has been designed specifically to facilitate single-handed injection with an adjustable needle-depth and ergonomic design to foster patient compliance. The instruction leaflet has also been carefully written to make the directions for using the device more user-friendly. Traveling with the device is easy as well, as it includes a travel case that allows all of the components to be stored in one central, compact container.
Andy Pidgeon, head of the industrial design and human factors group at Cambridge Consultants, was quoted as saying, “Our aim was to make the ExtaviPro 30G auto-injector very simple and intuitive to use, and enable one-handed injection.Its ergonomic shape leads patients to instinctively hold it correctly – which is vital for those who suffer from tremors, as having a firm grip is key to self-injecting safely.”
He added that, “Another key factor was the feedback we received during our extensive user research. Patients wanted a soft, non-threatening design, for example – so we’ve made it very user friendly. And it’s led to the creation of a drug delivery device that doesn’t look like a badge of infirmity.”