Novo to sell shield for concealing the needle of its injection pens

Norditropin's injection pen slides inside the new FlexPro PenMate so that its needle is hidden during the injection.--Courtesy of Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk ($NVO) relies on improvements in its drug delivering injection pens to maintain and gain the market share of its injectables. To that end, the company just received FDA approval for its FlexPro PenMate to conceal the needle of injection pens used to administer its Norditropin for children and adults with growth hormone deficiency. It will be made commercially available in the second half of the year.

The Norditropin injection pen slides into the new cylindrical accessory, Novo says. Then the needle is attached, and the injection can commence while hidden from the patient's view. In addition, the accessory has a large gripping surface so that patients can control the pen within during the injection.

The FlexPro is for use Norditropin's with 5-mg, 10-mg, and 15-mg injection pens. The growth hormone-based therapy is also administered via a 30-mg pen.

"Children and adolescents with growth hormone-related disorders are the primary users of Norditropin, and some feel uneasy at the thought of having to inject their medicine," said Eddie Williams, senior vice president of biopharmaceuticals at Novo Nordisk in a statement. "FlexPro PenMate was developed to hide the needle, demonstrating our commitment to keeping the patient at the center of everything we do."

Novo's website says the drug's injection pen uses disposable 30-gauge (or 0.3 mm) needles, thinner than a typical 23- to 25-gauge vaccination needle (0.5 mm-0.63 mm). The company already offers separately sold needles that come with a shield to hide them before, during and after use. In contrast, the FlexPro accessory is only a shield, and works with various needles for Norditropin.

Last year, Novo added the NovoPen Echo insulin injection pen to its diabetes drug delivery stable. It offers half-unit dosing and a memory log to keep track off injection times and amounts. The FlexPro is another incremental drug delivery advance that's designed to ease patient anxiety. Like the NovoPen Echo, it's primarily marketed toward children.

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