If the drug is a protein or peptide product, or a small molecule likely broken down by stomach acids, and injections are not
a preferred method of administration, a non-oral drug-delivery system, such as buccal, transdermal (through a skin patch),
or inhalation may be viable. The high rate of buccal absorption of many drug molecules also allows for better bioavailability
because of the lack of the effects of food and gastric acid in the GI tract.
Five of a Kind
Innovations in medical device technology are also benefiting drug-delivery device technology. The advantages of using devices
like implantable pumps include the ability to deliver a defined dose at defined intervals, or continuously to a defined anatomical
area, or systemically. In other cases, such as gene therapy, a delivery catheter is an essential component to assure that
the appropriate quantity of material is delivered to the precise location where it is needed.
Innovation in drug-delivery technology is a dynamic process. With the changing face of therapeutic options today, the advent
of nanotechnology, and the trend toward more biopharmaceuticals and personalized medicine, delivery innovation is likely to
accelerate. For today's pharmaceutical-formulation scientists, there are certainly a number of tricks to pull out of the drug-delivery-technology
hat. The Czech novelist Milan Kundera stated, "Business has only two functions—marketing and innovation." In the current climate
of pharma, it is critical that the industry embrace new delivery innovations to remain competitive.
Barry Sall is principal consultant and Irach Taraporewala is senior consultant at Parexel Consulting. They can be reached at email@example.com