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A simple, one-part DPI aims to make inhalation drug treatment more accessible and affordable.
Hovione Technology, a Hovione Ventures company, announced in an April 15, 2019 press release that it has secured global rights to develop and commercialize a new, affordable, multi-use blister-based dry powder inhaler (DPI) patented by inventor Dr. Klaus-Dieter Beller, which will be marketed as the Papillon DPI (1). The blister-based inhaler is suitable for both chronic and acute treatments and can accommodate a single- or double-blister configuration. The patient loads a blister to take the daily dose and reuses the inhaler for a defined period of time, typically 30 or 60 days.
The simplicity of the device, which is made from a single part, significantly reduces development cost and risk compared to more complex devices, explain Hovione Technology’s CEO Peter Villax and João Ventura, director of Technology Development and Licensing. “Because it is manufactured from a single mold, manufacturing and depreciation costs are much lower,” they add.
Villax and Ventura say that simpler DPI designs, which are less costly to manufacture, fulfill the need for readily accessible and affordable treatments, particularly in less developed markets. “Innovators have traditionally used device complexity to increase development and cost barriers for generic competition. [In addition,] smart and connected devices may have a role in the medium-term to further improve treatment effectiveness and adherence, especially in developed markets,” notes Ventura. “But inhaler devices do not fundamentally need to be complex; inhaled drugs can be delivered as effectively from devices made of very few parts and assembly steps.” Ventura says that making simpler inhaler devices is also a “greener” solution that consumes less resources.
In addition to being simple to manufacture, devices need to be simple for patients to use correctly. “Inhalers need to work in the hands of the patient. No matter how brilliant our inventions are, at the end of the day they need to bring benefit and value to the patients,” says Villax. He explains that human factors engineering is central for new DPI developments. This systematic design process can capture preferences towards design attributes that improve patient engagement with the device.
Creating a simple DPI is not a simple task. It is a difficult “marriage between device physics and formulation properties,” says Villax. “An inhaled combination [drug] is a complex product, because you have to consider not just the drug product, not just the device, but also how they interact with each other. For example: a powder inhaler turns an inspiratory effort into a force that disperses and aerosolizes a powder and entrains the particles into the lung. How efficiently this dispersion and entrainment occur is a key feature of the inhaler, but it depends just as much on the particles themselves and on how well they fly.”
Hovione Technology’s co-promotional agreement with API manufacturer Hovione allows the companies to integrate DPI device development with inhalation API formulation development and manufacturing. According to Hovione Technology, Papillon is available for feasibility studies and integrated development with formulation by pharmaceutical partners.
1. Hovione Technology, “Hovione Technology Announces Papillon DPI,” Press Release, April 15, 2019.
Vol. 43, No. 6
When referring to this article, please cite it as J. Markarian, “Hovione Technology Develops Blister-Based Inhaler,” Pharmaceutical Technology 43 (6) 2019.