Special Delivery: A Guide to the New Technologies - Pharmaceutical Executive


Special Delivery: A Guide to the New Technologies

Pharmaceutical Executive

Five of a Kind
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.

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


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