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20 December, 2020 - 01:01 By Tony Quested

TTP unveils innovative asthma and COPD inhaler

Cambridge technology innovator TTP plc has helped to create a ground-breaking new dry powder inhaler designed to be as cost-effective and easy-to-use as possible in tackling asthma and COPD. It has partnered Hovione Technology and H&T Presspart in the project.

TTP claims that the new PowdAir Plus DPI is robust, multi-use, with a sleek design. The device is based on the technology behind the highly successful TwinCaps device, designed and optimised by TTP and Hovione Technology and marketed in Japan by Daiichi Sankyo as Inavir®.

A useful design feature is the way the new device cuts the capsule as the tray closes. TTP says. It adds that patients do not need to pierce the capsule as a separate action, so using the inhaler is simpler, increasing compliance and hence efficacy.

The ability to reuse the device across many capsules reduces the waste associated with disposable inhalers and provides freedom for prescription formats; varying the number of capsules provided with a single inhaler.

Clennell Collingwood, digital health and medical devices consultant at TTP said: “The beauty of the PowdAir Plus DPI is its incredibly simple design. It’s only got four plastic parts, eliminating the metal blades or pins in other designs, which makes it less expensive to produce. 

“This innovative inhaler will offer greater choice to the millions of patients suffering from chronic respiratory or pulmonary problems, at a fraction of the normal cost.

“Until now, the range of reusable inhalers on offer has been quite limited. This new design is indicative of TTP’s – and the wider sector’s – growing ability to work together to design innovative, yet simple, technology to help solve some of the world’s most critical health problems – improving access to affordable treatment at a mass population level.” 

Currently 5.4 million people in the UK are receiving treatment for asthma with, on average, three people dying from an asthma attack every day. For those with respiratory conditions like asthma, managing the condition comes down to effective and ongoing treatment, often through the use of pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDI) – or ‘puffers’ – that release a measured dose of drug via a propellant every time the canister is pushed down.

TTP and Hovione Technology specifically worked together to create the PowdAir Plus DPI to be as affordable as possible. In addition, dry powder inhalers – unlike pressurised inhalers – do not release greenhouse gases to the environment and, with the drug being delivered through a dry powder sealed within a capsule, offer an alternative method which delivers medication deep into the lungs.

Hovione Technology and TTP have a long history of working in partnership, having designed the TwinCaps inhaler together in response to the bird flu pandemic in 2006. 

Launched by Daiichi Sankyo, Japan’s second largest pharmaceutical company, TwinCaps outsold Relenza and Tamiflu within the first six months and is the world’s best-selling, disposable inhaler. It is still the best selling anti-viral for influenza in Japan.

TTP has extensive experience developing innovative respiratory products at pace. The firm designed the dose counter for AstraZeneca’s Symbicort® inhaler, creating a more reliable product for patients and reducing the chance of a patient missing a life-saving medicine dose.

TTP also contributed to the development of new technologies for Mundipharma’s K-Haler®, which won two A’ Design Platinum Awards in 2018 for ‘Scientific Instruments, Medical Devices & Research Equipment Devices’ and ‘Ease of Use and Universal Design’. 

More recently, TTP took a leading role in the Government’s Ventilator Challenge to design a new ventilator in response to COVID-19.

Peter Villax, CEO, Hovione Technology, said: “The recent pandemic has raised awareness globally that we need better, more effective products, that are easier to use and to administer to people.

“The PowdAir Plus DPI was designed with these patients in mind – we wanted to provide a cost-effective product solution that would work at scale to help millions more asthma and COPD sufferers.

“We’ve worked closely with TTP for years to develop a number of respiratory products, and have always been impressed by their inventiveness, lateral thinking and ability to deliver. 

“Our partnership has shown the benefits of working together to design innovative and reliable technologies that can be quickly turned into manufacturable products.”

• PHOTOGRAPH: Clennell Collingwood, digital health and medical devices consultant at TTP.

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