Combination Products: Enable Injections' Large-Volume Wearable Injector Solves the Problem of Biologics Delivery

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Bees and pollen. Bovines and bacteria. Coral reefs and herbivorous fish. These are a few examples in nature of mutualism at its best — both parties benefit greatly from the relationship. Similarly, biologics — those large-volume, often-viscous drugs that now make up 70 percent of drugs in pharmaceutical company pipelines — benefit greatly from partnering with a rapidly emerging drug-delivery technology — large-volume wearable injectors (LVWIs).

Biologic drugs consist of mega-molecules that are hundreds of times the size of conventional small-molecule drugs. They are frequently composed of a heterogeneous mixture of more than 1,300 weighty amino acids. That creates three main challenges for pharmaceutical companies seeking to develop the next blockbuster biologic:

1. Biologics are hard for patients to take

2. Biologics are hard to make

3. Biologics can be expensive

Despite these difficulties, biologics offer promising treatments for cancers, autoimmune, rare, and other diseases due to their higher specificity and potentially fewer side effects.

Commercial success, however, hinges on overcoming the major challenges biologics pose.

Happily, LVWIs help on all three fronts. Since the newest wearables offer an option that makes large-dose injectable biologics easier for patients to take — a marketer's dream.

As former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop famously quipped, drugs don't work if patients don't take them.

LVWIs: Patient-centered, stress-free wearable drug delivery

Until LVWIs are more widely adopted, however, biologics will remain hard for patients to take. For one, there's the issue of convenience. A neighbor of Enable Injections' CEO Michael Hooven has been on the biologic drug Herceptin for five years and may be on it for many more. Every Saturday morning she drives to the hospital for a three-hour IV infusion. When an advanced LVWI device like the Enable Injector becomes available, she could take a standard vial out of the refrigerator, insert it into the device, adhere the device's small disk (about the size of an Oreo cookie) to her abdomen, and push one button. A few minutes later, she can throw the vial away. It's a tremendous benefit to a patient's quality of life. She would get back every Saturday morning.

Then there's the issue of injection discomfort and fear. Developed based on pain-free subcutaneous injection technology, treatment with the Enable Injections device is comfortable as well as easy, removing the stress from self-injection that so often results in non-compliance.

This patient-centered approach to delivering biologics is widely expected to improve adherence to therapeutic regimens and impact outcomes positively. For pharma companies, that is the bottom line in successfully navigating the outcomes-based models that health systems are moving toward.

LVWIs: Speeding time to market, extending life cycle

But that's not all. For formulation teams developing injectable biologics, the new delivery technology can reduce overall efforts since viscosity and the requirement for low injection volumes are two constraints that have removed from administration. It can shave months off development time, bringing differentiated products to market fast and at low cost.

LVWIs that can now deliver 5- to 50-ml doses can also give new life to expiring biologics, extending their life cycles.

Eliminating the hospital saves health systems a bundle

Finally, not only can it be more convenient for patients and caregivers to administer treatments at home, but that ability also promises tremendous health system savings by eliminating the high cost of health provider–mediated infusions — and needle prick injuries.

To profit, partner

It's no wonder partnerships between pharmaceutical companies and LVWI developers to create patient-focused, differentiated combination products are proliferating. It can change the conversation from drugs being overly expensive to a focus on value and improved quality of life for patients. Besides, like bees and pollen, they're just better together.

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