RPC Formatec’s manufacturing expertise has been instrumental in the development of the Puffhaler™, an innovative new dry powder inhaler (DPI) from American company Aktiv-Dry that promises a low-cost solution to meet the needs of mass vaccination campaigns in developing countries.
Based in Colorado, Aktiv-Dry is a specialist in providing dry powder processing solutions for the vaccine, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Puffhaler™ is a revolutionary DPI that utilises gas expansion through a special pressure release valve to break up particles into a suitable size for pulmonary delivery.
The Puffhaler™ has been designed for both adults and small children. The powder is dispersed out of a blister into a 200cc reservoir by simply squeezing a bulb until the valve pops open. The aerosol reservoir, with attached mask for children and mouthpiece for adults, is then removed from the rest of the device and provided to the patient. This allows for flexibility in inhalation, as children are likely to need multiple breaths to inhale the full dosage.
RPC Formatec is manufacturing the disperser for the Puffhaler™, comprising the body unit (where the blister containing the powder is placed) and the mouthpiece. The body unit is injection moulded in PP, while the mouthpiece is manufactured in HDPE.
RPC Formatec has also been significantly involved in the development of the spacer, to enable a design that is suitable for large scale manufacturing while ensuring the high standard of performance required by Aktiv-Dry. It is currently being evaluated whether RPC Formatec will complete thermoforming of the co-extruded PE spacer in addition to the other components.
Spacer samples are currently being produced for lab and clinical testing by an external equipment supplier, with whom RPC Formatec is working closely on the project. It is hoped that these trials will confirm the suitability of the Puffhaler™ for the vaccination needs of the developing world, as Brian Quinn, President of Aktiv-Dry, explains.
“Powdered vaccines have a number of advantages over liquids that makes them particularly suitable for this purpose. They are lighter in weight, more difficult to contaminate and inherently more stable, making them much easier and cheaper to transport. Crucially, as there is no need to puncture the skin or make contact with blood, the risk of HIV or other infections is significantly reduced.
“We are already in talks with pharmaceutical companies and the World Health Organisation to make the Puffhaler™ an essential aid to global disease control,” adds Brian Quinn. “RPC Formatec’s development and manufacturing expertise will play a vital role in this important goal.”
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