We are developing a MNA platform technology which can be used for a wide range of applications. In general, our npMNA-patch technology could provide an attractive alternative for parenteral formulations or for (existing) oral dosage forms with serious negative side-effects.
We are focusing on the 3 therapeutic areas here below.
1 Prophylactic vaccines:
Microneedle technology vaccine delivery allow to effectively target the immune cells in the dermis and epidermis. Intradermal vaccine delivery substantially enhances the efficacy of vaccines and, moreover, there is a dose sparing potential of a factor 5 to 100 compared to intramuscular injection. Microneedle delivery is minimally invasive and pain-free for the patient. Our micro-needle arrays, incorporated into a patch and applied by a simple insertion device makes the administration safe and easy to use. It allows for self-administration by the patient. Self-administration, which can be done in the patient’s home environment, leads to better patient convenience and lower overall costs. We aim to develop a dry vaccine formulation: the dry vaccine dissolves in the patient’s interstitial fluid upon insertion of the micro-needles and diffuses into the patient’s skin. Dry vaccine is far more stable than solution based vaccines and consequently, the cold chain logistics could possibly be circumvented in the case of a dry vaccine formulation.
2 Therapeutic vaccines (immunotherapy):
New vaccine therapies prescribed to treat various cancer and cardiovascular diseases are reaching the market. These therapeutic vaccines are administered by (painful) injection and generally they are very costly.
Intradermal delivery of therapeutic vaccines by microneedle technology, targeting the dendritic cells, would lead to effective immune responses and painful injections are avoided. Particularly in the case of chronic diseases requiring regular administrations patients may benefit form the possibility of self-administration.
3 Small molecules (low molecular weight):
Based on the existing patch technologies, many small molecules cannot pass the skin and require a different route of administration. At present, there are only some 20 drug molecules delivered by transdermal patches on the market. These patches are highly inefficient. Up to 50 to 95% of the active ingredient (such as environmentally harmful steroidal hormones and opiates) remains behind in the patch and does not enter the body.
Moreover, it may take between 6 and 12 hours with existing pharmaceutical patches to observe a clinical effect after application of the patch, simply because of the hurdle effect of the stratum corneum. Hence an onset (rapid) mode of action is impossible with existing patches.
Microneedles allow to overcome the barrier of the stratum corneum and allow for a much quicker (onset) mode of action, if required. Integration of micro-needle technology into patches allows to strongly increase the ratio of delivered vs. undelivered dose and makes it possible to administer certain drugs which cannot be transdermally delivered with the existing patch technologies. By reformulating oral drugs into transdermal (microneedle) administration forms, the first pass effect (liver) is eliminated.