MedImmune taps Unilife for wearable biologic injectable tech

MedImmune will use Unilife's wearable injectable device to deliver biologics.--Courtesy of Unilife

Injectable drug delivery specialist Unilife ($UNIS) joined forces with AstraZeneca's ($AZN) MedImmune this week to use Unilife's wearable devices with MedImmune's line of large molecules, putting both companies on the leading edge of a potentially profitable market.

With this deal, the terms of which the companies haven't disclosed, the Pennsylvania-based company is "defining the wearable injectable market," Unilife CEO Alan Shortall told FierceDrugDelivery; he said the market has been estimated to exceed $8 billion in 10 years' time.

The agreement allows MedImmune to customize Unilife's devices for molecules in its pipeline, several of which may be selected for use with the platform. Already, Unilife has nailed down a similar agreement with Sanofi ($SNY) for the use of its self-retracting automatic injectors. That deal has Unilife providing at least 150 million of those devices a year going forward for use with Sanofi's line, including the blockbuster Lovenox for deep vein thrombosis.

And the wearable ReadyToGo device adds another dimension, allowing a viable option for large molecules. With its "peel, stick and click" steps of use, the device gives patients an at-home delivery platform for drugs that normally require intravenous injection.

"There is an enormous amount of biologics in the R&D pipeline," Shortall said, "and about 25% will need to be injected in a wearable device. Because of the viscosity of large molecules, they need to be diluted and administered in a large-volume dose."

That large-volume dose is exactly what the ReadyToGo devices are designed to do. Normally, doses as large as 15 milliliters must be administered intravenously, but because self-administered delivery methods are becoming the norm, the biologics market is ready for a more patient-friendly option.

"User interface is very important, and it allows better patient adherence," he said. "We're the only company that can provide that level of simplicity." And the wearable tech also eases the sterilization process with a self-contained cartridge that the patient can pre-load.

- here's the release