28 March 2013
Breathing new life into inhalers
Development expertise of Cambridge Consultants leads to innovative new inhaler
An innovative dry powder inhaler (DPI) designed by product development firm Cambridge Consultants and Chiesi Farmaceutici has been launched onto the market. The patient-friendly NEXThaler® device has been developed for use in the treatment of asthma. Its creative design makes the device very intuitive – all the patient has to do is open it, breathe in, and close it again.
More than 235 million people worldwide suffer from asthma, according to the World Health Organization, and using the right medication correctly can mean the difference between life and death. Although asthma cannot be cured, appropriate management can control the disease and enable people to enjoy a good quality of life.
NEXThaler® has been designed so that when the user opens it, the device automatically provides the correctly measured dose ready for inhalation. All the patient has to do is breathe in – when their air flow reaches the correct rate, the medium-resistance device activates to deliver the extrafine drug particles to both the large and small airways. Closing the device resets the mechanism, and the dose counter lets the patient know how many doses are left. Feedback from both doctors and patients has been positive during user-group international research.
Cambridge Consultants has worked with Chiesi on all aspects of the device – from the creation of the initial design concepts, and detailed device design and development, through device verification testing to working with the manufacturer as the DPI went into production. “Cambridge Consultants represented a ‘one-stop shop’ for all our requirements,” said Paolo Chiesi, vice-president and R&D director at Chiesi. “Its long history of inhaler development meant it was able to come up with solutions to even the most complex problems and enable us to get what is set to be a very successful product onto the market.”
NEXThaler® has been launched this month in Germany and will now be rolled out to the European market – and potentially worldwide. “Our inhaler development expertise means we not only know how to design a device that meets a client’s exacting requirements – but also how to ensure the device is robust when you start to make it in large quantities,” said Dr Matthew Allen, head of drug delivery at Cambridge Consultants.
“Our extensive experience of getting a product to market successfully enabled us to design robustness into the device. We were able to identify potential pitfalls and design solutions to them to ensure that, once the device was on the market, it would work efficiently and consistently. We have worked closely with the manufacturer from pilot production through to proving the robustness of the design during low-volume manufacture and into the scale-up to high-volume production.”
Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 450 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications.
Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in innovation and high-tech engineering consulting which supports companies in the creation and development of their new products and services. With a staff of about 23,000 employees in more than 20 countries, the Group generated revenues of €1.756bn in 2014. For more information, visit: www.altran.com
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