Business, general care

Crospon licenses drug-delivery system based on HP inkjet printer technology

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.

The prototype skin patch
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 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,” 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 sciences market.”

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