Wake up and smell the drug with ‘Nespresso’
The ‘Nespresso’ of auto injectors to deliver drugs to patients has been unveiled by technology consultancy Cambridge Design Partnership.
Its Klarus device is targeted at patients juggling complicated treatment regimens for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. CDP says the breakthrough paves the way for a new generation of treatment that is easier for patients and cost effective for healthcare providers.
It claims that Klarus is set to transform the world of auto-injectors – doing away with the need for rheumatoid arthritis patients to worry about storing their drugs in the fridge, warming them up to the correct temperature for injection, preparing their auto-injector for use and disposing of the device safely.
CDP claims that Klarus does everything for them – they simply have to pick up the reusable auto-injector from its base station when prompted to do so, inject themselves and then return the device to its cradle.
“It’s the Nespresso of auto-injectors,” said Uri Baruch, head of drug delivery at CDP.
“Klarus will store drugs at the correct temperature and warm them up when required – minimising 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.”
As well as RA, Klarus could be used to treat diseases such as multiple sclerosis or to administer vaccines. It could also enable some cancer patients to be treated at home using drugs that are currently only allowed to be given in hospital.
And it opens the door to the emerging world of companion diagnostics and truly personalised medication, where treatment is tailored to each individual patient using genetic information.
“All too often, patients with a chronic disease face the additional burden of struggling with a complex treatment regimen at home,” said Uri. “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 Klarus system could be offered to patients as a subscription-based service. It is expected to cost healthcare providers less than $1,000 per system, and the cartridges would be around $2 each. So Klarus would pay for itself in the space of just one year if, for example, a patient was having weekly injections for RA at a typical cost of $10 per single-use auto-injector.
As well as helping to improve patient outcomes, it would also be more environmentally friendly – saving on packaging and involving the disposal of only a small cartridge each time, rather than an entire auto-injector.