licenses drug-delivery system based on HP inkjet
28 September 2007
Crospon, a medical device developer based in Galway,
Ireland, has gained a license from HP to commercialise a drug-delivery
system developed from HP's printer technology. The technology, based on an
inkjet printer head, enables painless, controlled release of one or more
drugs in a single patch applied to the skin.
A close-up of the prototype skin patch invented by HP.
Photo: Business Wire
Under the agreement, HP will license its intellectual property to Crospon in
return for royalty payments. Crospon will commercialize 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.
Crospon, which recently announced the finalization of €2.3 million in seed
financing, will manufacture the skin patch and manage all marketing, sales
and support of the technology.
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
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
“This industry-first skin patch invented by HP allows Crospon to offer a
superior drug delivery platform for doctors and patients,” said John O’Dea,
chief executive officer, Crospon. “We look forward to working with our
pharmaceutical customers to bring this breakthrough solution to the market.”
The agreement between HP and Crospon resulted in part from HP’s relationship
with Enterprise Ireland, an Irish government agency tasked with supporting
and growing indigenous business in Ireland. Through Enterprise Ireland,
companies can license the intellectual property of HP and access the
company’s business and technology mentoring.
“We encourage companies like Crospon to apply HP’s intellectual property in
innovative ways to help more people benefit from these important
technologies,” said Joe Beyers, vice president, Intellectual Property
Licensing, HP. “By licensing core intellectual property in thermal inkjet
technology for use in a drug delivery product, HP breathes new life into its
mature technology while capitalizing on the booming healthcare and life
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