Wireless Drug Delivery Using MicroCHIPS
“The Internet of Things” is a term often used to refer to the fact that more and more objects are becoming embedded with sensors that give them the ability to communicate via the Internet. In an article last year, we highlighted a company called Proteus Digital Health that is developing “digital medicine” which can directly confirm its own ingestion using Bluetooth. Another company that is using wireless technology to improve drug delivery is MicroCHIPS.
Founded in 1999, Massachusetts-based MicroCHIPS has taken in just over $25 million from the likes of Medtronic (NYSE:MDT), Polaris Partners, and Novartis Venture Fund. The Company was co-founded by Robert Langer, an Institute Professor at MIT and the most cited engineer in history with over 1,000 patents. Mr. Langer was Chairman of the FDA’s highest advisory board from 1999-2002 and his research laboratory at MIT is the largest biomedical engineering lab in the world. He also founded nano drug delivery company Bind Therapeutics (NASDAQ:BIND) in addition to over 20 other biotech companies. MicroCHIPS has developed a pipeline of intelligent implantable devices that can make life easier for millions of people with chronic conditions that require careful monitoring and precise drug therapy. The MicroCHIPS technology is licensed from MIT and has been in development since the mid-1990s.
Drug Delivery on a Chip
MicroCHIPS’ product is an implantable, wirelessly controlled and programmable, microchip-based drug delivery device. The device is implanted under the skin in a simple 30-minute outpatient procedure using local anesthesia.
The chip can then be activated via wireless and set to release the drugs at whatever interval is deemed appropriate by the physician. The device is even capable of administering more than one drug from the various drug reservoirs contained within the chip itself. MicroCHIPS is currently developing new designs of its microchip-based implant to include as many as 400 doses per device providing daily dosing for one year or multi-year therapy for less frequent dosing regimens. The company plans to file for regulatory approval for its first microchip device this year.
In February 2012, MicroCHIPS announced clinical results for the first successful human trial of an implantable, wireless microchip drug delivery device. In the study, seven osteoporosis patients received the microchip-based implant. The device and drug combination were found to be biocompatible with no adverse immune reaction and the microchip was able to deliver the required drug dosage at the programmed intervals. While the most advanced application of the device is targeting osteoporosis, other applications are in the pipeline as well:
The contraception application for the timed delivery of progestin could have a great deal of potential with the U.S. hormonal contraceptive market alone having total market sales of $5.6 billion in 2013. This technology could potentially leapfrog the new contraceptive patch from Agile Therapeutics who recently filed for an IPO. While no news has come out of MicroCHIPS since February 2012, this microchip technology has huge potential should it continue to be well-tolerated and reliable.
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