09/09/15 Microneedles are used in transdermal delivery and is increasingly gaining traction as one of the more promising drug delivery technologies. Microneedles, on average about a few hundred microns in size, are capable of creating transient pores across the skin by penetrating the stratum corneum layer to deliver molecules. These needles are not big enough to reach the nerve-rich regions of the skin; as a result, the drug delivery is perceived as completely painless and devoid of bleeding. Drugs, proteins, vaccines, peptides and other biomolecules are suitable for delivery using the microneedle technology.
PR Newswire in London recently published a report on microneedles. They stated that the market is still in its infancy, with only 1 microneedle based delivery device having reached the market so far. But more than 25 companies, with proprietary microneedle technology, are actively working towards the development of microneedle-based drug or vaccine products, with them already in clinical trials. It is expected that about 10 of these products will be launched into the market by the end of this decade.
Why are microneedles growing in popularity? They can deliver a plethora of drugs and vaccines, in the form of a patch with solid or dissolvable micro needles which are virtually painless. Other research is being done to see what other markets this new technology can be used in. We here at MES have been involved in microneedle patch research and the future looks promising.