Fujifilm joins microneedle R&D boom

This microneedle array contains pigments instead of drugs.--Courtesy of Fujifilm

Fujifilm has joined one of the latest drug-delivery trends with a microneedle array that delivers drugs and vaccines just under the skin. The patch is covered with tiny projections made of polysaccharides that painlessly enter the skin and then dissolve, delivering the drug into the bloodstream.

Because microneedles deliver vaccines just under the skin, they can trigger stronger immune responses than intramuscular vaccines. This patch uses dissolving needles, which avoids the risk of fragments remaining lodged in the skin, as can sometimes happen with nondissolving microneedles.

The company can design and mass-produce bespoke patches with microneedles of any length. Fujifilm's expertise is in developing photographic films, and this is an extension of the same high-precision processing technology.

Animal studies are under way with microneedles delivering hormones and vaccines, and human studies are planned. The company hopes to begin manufacturing GMP-compliant delivery systems in the second half of 2013 and will seek partners for commercialization.

- read the press release