Gerresheimer invests in Portal's needle-free drug delivery, teeing Takeda partner up to advance tech

Gerresheimer has signed up to support development of Portal Instruments’ needle-free drug delivery platform, taking a stake in its new partner and agreeing to throw its weight behind a technology that has attracted the attention of Takeda.

Portal’s device expels biologics through a pressurized liquid at around 200 meters per second, causing the stream to penetrate the skin without the use of a needle. Jet injectors have been around for decades, but Portal has technology for controlling the stream. While spring-loaded devices apply the same force each time, Portal’s technology features a closed-loop feedback system to adjust the injection velocity. 

The feedback system could reduce discomfort and enable the targeting of a specific skin depth. That idea attracted Takeda, which signed up to collaborate with Portal in 2017, and has now persuaded packaging and drug delivery company Gerresheimer to write a check.

Gerresheimer has made “a mid-single digit million Euro” investment in Portal as part of an agreement that will see it support development of the technology and take part in the production of the reusable injector and supply cartridges that contain the medicine. Gerresheimer has an option to increase its stake in the future.

Patrick Anquetil, CEO of Portal, set out the significance of the deal in a statement, explaining how the money and expertise provided by Gerresheimer will affect his company’s development plans.

“As a solutions provider and platform integrator, Gerresheimer has deep development and manufacturing know-how as well as a strong network of global pharma and biotech customers. This investment will support our scaling efforts. Gerresheimer’s financial backing will also accelerate Portal’s growth plans,” Anquetil said. 

News of the deal comes hot on the heels of a pilot assessment of the ability of the technology to deliver 2 mL of a biologic. The study found the technology can rapidly deliver the volume with minimal discomfort.