Sanofi fuels microneedle trend with flu vax

The muscle aches associated with flu shots may become a thing of the past. Gearing up for the height of flu season this winter, Sanofi Pasteur has started U.S. shipments of its flu vaccine that uses a microinjection system to deliver the vaccine into the skin. The company says it's the first flu vaccine in the U.S. to use such delivery technology.

Microneedle systems are hot in the drug-delivery game because they are convenient and less painful. Sanofi's Fluzone intradermal product, approved for patients 18 to 64 years old, features a needle that is 90% shorter and thinner than a traditional needle. The tiny needle delivers vaccine into the skin, presumably helping patients avoid the aches of a deeper injection into the muscle. The company and healthcare professionals hope the product boosts adult flu vaccination rates.

"Adults 18 through 64 years of age have some of the lowest influenza immunization rates in the U.S. despite public health recommendations for everyone 6 months of age and older to receive an annual influenza immunization," Damian Braga, Sanofi Pasteur's senior VP, commercial operations, said in a statement. "Our commitment to introducing new technologies, such as Fluzone Intradermal vaccine, reflects Sanofi Pasteur's expertise in developing innovative immunization options that can help foster greater vaccine acceptance among adults."

Microneedles are catching on for treating a variety of maladies. Popular Science rounds up a few of them this week, including efforts at Kansai University in Japan to develop a system mimicking how mosquitoes tap our flesh. The piece also notes an effort at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University to advance a patch with drug-loaded polymer microneedles that could deliver meds and then dissolve. Engineering the microneedles to dissolve after use could provide a hedge against disease spread from discarded metal needles, according to the item.

- here's Sanofi's release
- check out the item from Popular Science

Zcube, Caltech get together for nanotube-needle drug delivery
Microneedles may be better for H1N1 delivery
Analyst: Fluzone Intradermal 'delivers the goods' in a patient-friendly system

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