West takes stake in intradermal delivery startup Latch Medical

West Pharmaceutical Services is throwing its weight behind intradermal delivery technology, making a strategic investment in the developer of a low-cost approach to the rapid, consistent dosing of vaccines and biologics via the skin.

The investment gives West a stake in Latch Medical, an Irish company that is advancing two drug delivery device platforms based on technology designed to securely anchor microneedle patches to the skin. 

One of the platforms, Pharma Latch Hollow, features hollow microneedles that allow liquid formulations to pass through them for direct intradermal administration. Latch pitches the device as having more consistent dosing and higher payload capacity than rival technologies.

The other delivery platform, Pharma Latch Coated, features solid microneedle arrays with dry-form compound coatings on them. Once exposed to the moisture of the skin, the arrays dissolve and release their payloads. Again, other companies have developed similar technologies, but Latch claims its platform overcomes problems such as poor needle penetration, which makes dosing inconsistent, and high costs. 

West sees promise in the technology, leading it to take a minority stake in Latch that sees it join Atlantic Bridge and Enterprise Ireland on the list of investors in the startup. Robert Segura, vice president of corporate development at West, set out the thinking behind the deal. 

“West's investment in Latch Medical advances our leadership in innovation through a dedicated focus on the needs of patients The methods by which medicines are delivered to patients continue to evolve to meet their desire for ease-of-use and effectiveness. Latch Medical's innovative intradermal-delivery technology fits well into this strategy,” Segura said in a statement.