Debiotech and STMicroelectronics in partnership to manufacture
microfluidic insulin pump
1 May 2007. Francais
Lausanne & Geneva
Switzerland. A new agreement between Debiotech and STMicroelectronics
(NYSE:STM) aims to bring to market a revolutionary microfluidic insulin pump
that can be mounted on a disposable skin patch.
nanopump (right), which relies on microfluidic MEMS
(micro-electro-mechanical system) technology, is a breakthrough concept that
allows a tiny pump to be mounted on a disposable skin patch to provide
continuous insulin infusion.
The nanopump will enable substantial advancements in the availability,
treatment efficiency and the quality of life of diabetes patients. The
original technology was awarded the Swiss Technology Award in 2006 and this
agreement brings it closer to the market.
Insulin pump therapy, or
continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII), is an increasingly
attractive alternative to individual insulin injections that must be
administered several times a day. With CSII, the patient is connected to a
programmable pump attached to a storage reservoir, from which insulin is
infused into the tissue under the skin. Continuous delivery throughout the
day, more closely mimics the natural secretion of insulin from the pancreas.
The highly miniaturized disposable insulin pump combines Debiotech's
expertise in insulin delivery with ST's strengths in manufacturing
high-volume silicon-based microfluidic devices. Microfluidic technology
allows the flow of very small amounts of fluids to be electronically
controlled. This pump represents a significant step in the development and
adoption of CSII therapy and the leading-edge technology will also find
applications in many other biomedical applications.
insulin pumps are about the size of a pager. The new ST- enabled Debiotech
miniaturized MEMS device is about one quarter the size of these existing
pumps and can be worn as a nearly invisible patch on the skin. The small
size frees the patient from concerns with holding the pump in place and
concealing it under clothing.
The MEMS-based Nanopump also provides better
control of the administered insulin doses. Dosing precision is a critical
factor in treatment efficacy and contributes to reducing adverse long-term
consequences. The Nanopump is able to control delivery at the nanoliter
level, very close to the physiological delivery of insulin. The device
prevents over-dosing and detects under-delivery, occlusion, air bubbles and
other potential malfunctions in the pump to further protect patients. As a
disposable device, manufactured using high-volume semiconductor processing
technologies, the MEMS-based Nanopump will also be much more affordable,
allowing the patient or the health system to avoid the typical up-front
investment associated with current pump solutions.
The insulin Nanopump,
developed by Debiotech and industrialized by ST, represents the first use of
microfluidic MEMS technology in diabetes treatment. Functional samples have
already been produced and the two partners expect that a fully
industrialized product, in the form of a disposable cartridge, will be
available in selected markets in 2008. Debiotech will remain responsible for
the commercialization of the product through its licenses with major players
in the medical device market.
The industrialization efforts will leverage
STMicroelectronics' growing experience in the biomedical market. Other
bio-tech programs within ST's Microfluidic Division include the In-Check
lab-on-chip platform, currently being applied to the detection of sepsis and
"ST's increasing focus on applying its semiconductor
manufacturing processes and growing experience in microfluidic biotech
applications affords us the potential to improve lives for millions of
people around the world," said Anton Hofmeister, Group Vice President and
General Manager of ST's Microfluidic Division. "Working with Debiotech, a
leading developer of innovative biomedical applications, we are committed to
the industrialization of the insulin Nanopump that aspires to push the
boundaries of diabetes treatment."
"This collaboration with ST represents
a major step in manufacturing of the Nanopump to make it available to a
broad market at a cost compatible with a unique disposable use. ST is a
world leader in MEMS manufacturing and we are very excited to be working
together to bring a real innovation to diabetic patients, offering a new way
to treat one of the most severe diseases of our century," said Frederic
Neftel, MD, President & CEO of Debiotech SA.