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Inkjet technology moves into drug delivery

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HP is to license its inkjet intellectual property to Irish medical device developer Crospon, which will use it as a drug delivery platform that enables painless, controlled release of one or more drugs in a single patch applied to the skin. 

Crospon will commercialise the patch, which was invented by HP Labs, the company’s central research facility, and make it available to pharmaceutical companies to use in various therapeutic areas.
The patch delivers medication intradermally – just below the surface of the skin – and enables precise control of dosage timing, access to dosage history, patient activation mechanisms and inherent safety protocols for preventing adverse drug interactions.
Transdermal patches (which rely on absorption through the skin) for nicotine delivery have become a mainstay for smoking cessation programs; however, they have not been a widely effective delivery mechanism for many drugs because the skin acts as a natural barrier.
The HP-developed skin patch uses microneedles that barely penetrate the skin; this radically reduces discomfort compared to traditional hypodermic needles and enables the technique to be used with a much wider variety of drugs and biopharmaceuticals. The microneedles allow medication to quickly enter the bloodstream, resulting in the potential delivery of lower and more precise dosages.
HP initially developed the drug delivery technology as a way to repurpose its inkjet technology for use in new markets. The technology in the skin patch is similar to that employed in HP’s patented process for its inkjet cartridges.
“This industry-first skin patch invented by HP allows Crospon to offer a superior drug delivery platform for doctors and patients,” says John O’Dea, CEO of Crospon. “We look forward to working with our pharmaceutical customers to bring this breakthrough solution to the market.”