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Connected Drug Delivery Device Development: Where Are We At?

The market for parenteral drug-device combination products has evolved rapidly over the last 15–20 years and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 24.3% in the next eight years.1 One area driving this growth is connected devices, with their ability to collect a host of data relating to drug administration. These devices aim to deliver enhanced healthcare outcomes – by enabling remote patient monitoring and promoting treatment adherence – however, there remains room for improvement in several areas to ensure the data captured is being exploited to its fullest.

Drawing from Owen Mumford Pharmaceutical Services’ own experience, as well as conversations with industry experts and counterparts, this article lays out the opportunities and challenges currently facing the connected drug delivery device market.

Flexibility: A Key Concept

The unprecedented pace of change in connected device technology means that the landscape is constantly shifting. What was recently cutting edge is replaced by newer technologies, and opinions on the different configurations and functionality available change as devices and market requirements evolve.

In addition, markets vary significantly across the globe with regard to regulatory approval paths, and the same can be said for patient and healthcare providers’ preferences. As a result, optimal devices are those that offer greater flexibility, allowing pharmaceutical companies a wider choice of potential markets and segments. In many cases this may mean selecting platform devices that work with or without added connectivity, as well as making the choice between reusable or disposable, single-use devices depending on the therapy area, target market and patient needs.

Data for Device Improvement

The data collected by connected devices could be key to their further development and improvement, creating a feedback loop that leads to enhanced device usability and functionality. Real-world usability data – for instance, the angle a patient is holding the device or the pressure applied during the injection – could be gathered during clinical trials and would be a valuable supplement to the data gathered in human factors studies. Post-launch, this data could be helpful for resolving complaints and issues, enabling root cause analysis to determine which part of the system requires corrective action. This information could also be relayed to device manufacturers so that they can remedy the issues and make improvements to the device design.

A Rapidly Evolving Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of healthcare as we know it, accelerating its digitisation and the expansion of telemedicine.2 Both patients and healthcare professionals are increasingly open to the possibilities of remote health monitoring; seizing the benefits offered by connected devices is therefore crucial.