BEDMINSTER, N.J. -- Bioject Medical Technologies Inc., a leading developer of needle-free drug delivery systems, announced today that it has signed a long-term collaboration agreement with PATH for the development of a single-use, needle-free,
disposable cartridge jet injection system for global immunizations. PATH is an international, nonprofit organization that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions, enabling communities worldwide to break longstanding cycles of poor health. By collaborating with diverse public- and private-sector partners, PATH helps provide appropriate health technologies and vital strategies that change the way people think and act. PATH's work improves global health and well being.
Under terms of the PATH agreement, Bioject will develop a needle-free, auto-disable, single dose cartridge injection system for use in immunization programs in the developing world. The agreement is divided into three stages covering activities from technical feasibility, country-level market assessments, fundraising, international public health clinical trials, scale-up for high-volume manufacturing, to full market implementation.
Well over 1 billion vaccine doses are delivered worldwide by hypodermic injection every year. This number is expected to grow considerably in the next 10 years due to increase in immunization coverage of target populations and addition of new vaccines to World Health Organization's immunization program. The incidence of needlestick injuries, particularly in developing countries, is also anticipated to increase significantly if a safer injection alternative is not implemented.
Extensive focus groups were conducted in collaboration with PATH to determine the need of developing-country immunization programs. Many clinics in developing countries gave their input as to their specific needs and best ways to use such needle-free technology, leading Bioject to design this new injection system. This new product will be able to meet the immunization challenges posed domestically and in the developing world as it utilizes injection cartridges that are easy to fill, needle-free, single-use, auto-disabled, fully disposable, and low cost. The system consists of a durable, small, handheld injector with disposable cartridges that administer safe and reproducible injections, which requires no external power supply.
"The opportunity to change the way that vaccines are delivered, eliminating needles, improving vaccine effectiveness, reducing the cost of vaccination, and expanding the world's vaccine production capacity with a single technology, is extraordinary," said Michael Free, vice president and senior advisor for technology at PATH. "We are pleased to partner with Bioject, a frontrunner in the development of new-generation jet injectors, to advance this technology for global health applications."
"We are excited with this collaboration and we are looking forward to supporting the public health sector," said Jim O'Shea, chairman, president, and CEO of Bioject. "Ultimately, we hope this development program will not only include PATH, but other global health organizations who have also expressed interest in providing assistance and funding to deliver needle-free immunizations in the developing world. We expect that in the near future, the product being developed under this agreement will also be used to deliver lower doses of vaccine intradermally, enhancing the availability of vaccines such as influenza. A clinical trial has been scheduled for early 2006 to test this dose-sparing concept with flu vaccine.