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11 December, 2014 - 20:35 By Tony Quested

Cambridge tech consultancy looks sharp to solve needle crisis


A Cambridge-California technology collaboration has produced a novel solution to protect healthcare workers from dangerous needlestick injuries.

UK design innovator Cambridge Design Partnership joined forces with Silicon Valley company Raumedic AG to create RauSafe – a needle safety device that uses a telescopic sleeve, activated after injection to cover the needle and protect healthcare workers from needlestick injuries. 

The invention has just received the DeviceMed award for most innovative medical device at Compamed 2014, the international trade fair for the medical engineering supply industry.

Each year 385,000 needlestick injuries and other sharps-related injuries are sustained by US hospital-based healthcare workers. This equates to an average of around 1,000 sharps injuries occurring every day in US hospitals and of these, 40 per cent happen after use and before disposal of sharp devices, according to the US Department of Labor.

Both the USA Needlestick Act (2000) and the EU Needle Safety Directive (2010) came into force to help prevent sharps injuries in hospitals. As many existing prefilled glass syringes on the market did not meet these needle safety regulations, pharmaceutical companies faced lengthy and costly processes to redesign and revalidate their drugs in new needle-safe primary pack delivery devices.  

Palo Alto-based Raumedic recognised the need for a needle safety device that could be retro-fitted to existing primary packs, which would avoid the necessity for the long and expensive process of revalidation. Raumedic AG and Cambridge Design Partnership together developed a solution in just five months, so that when the new regulations came into effect the product was ready for use.

Through its expertise in design of novel drug delivery devices, Cambridge Design Partnership carried out initial technology and IP landscaping to identify areas of opportunity, then concept invention and mechanical CAD development to create a range of concepts. 

Using its core toolkit of processes for design for manufacture and assembly, tolerancing and stress analysis, and working in partnership with Raumedic’s injection moulding experts to prototype the device, the CDP team also arrived at a robust design suitable for high volume manufacture at competitive cost.

The RauSafe can be customised to existing staked-needle prefilled glass syringes with slight modifications of the existing parts. This means it can be added to existing manufacturing lines, avoiding the time and cost that a lengthy revalidation process would take.

A formative usability study has already revealed excellent results. RauSafe is currently available for license.

Dr Thomas Jakob, Director, Moulding/Solutions, Raumedic AG said: “We were very impressed that working together with Cambridge Design Partnership we could deliver such a neat and manufacturable solution so quickly, in time for the new regulations. Highly recommended.”

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