Needle-free injection

A needle-free injection system that takes its inspiration from the technology used to activate car airbags has been created by pervormanc.

The Pyrofast system uses a fine, high-pressure jet stream to penetrate the skin and deliver liquid or solid drugs to the tissue beneath. According to the German company, the entire process takes 40m/s and creates a puncture that is four times smaller than that caused by conventional needle injections.

Dr Thorsten Rudolph, managing director of Anwendungszentrum Oberpfaffenhofen (AZO), is working with IP management company, Patev to commercialise the technology. He claims that the system will prevent the transmission of blood-borne diseases via needlestick and sharp injuries and provide a more attractive option to patients generally.

‘The pyrotechnical gas propulsion technology that is used doesn’t cause bleeding, so the transfer of diseases such as HIV will be eliminated,’ he said. ‘This is the same chemical gas technology being used in airbags to provide a fast and reliable pressure profile. Including it in an injection system means that it can easily be used by patients to self administer drugs through the skin.’

Most needle-free injection systems produce the initial penetration pressure using a spring or compressed gas. This can cause discomfort to the patient as the pressure applied is not uniform. Patev claims that the system overcomes this by using chemical substances that, after activation, generate a gas to create a constant and reliable pressure profile.

The system also has the advantage of distributing the drugs to a wider area under the skin and therefore speeding up absorption, whereas needle injections cause a bolus that slows drug delivery.

The team has developed a prototype and Rudolph is confident of working with industrial partners to begin trials in the near future.

Ellie Zolfagharifard