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UK firm starts research on skin patch for COVID vaccines

Innoture has received funding from the Welsh Government to start proof-of-concept research into the use of its next-generation microneedle skin patch for the self-administration of COVID-19 and other vaccines.

Innoture has been awarded a grant of almost £200,000 from the Welsh Government via SMARTCymru 2014-2020 European Regional Development Fund West Wales and the Valleys to fund a research project entitled ‘Self-Administration of SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine via Microlithographic 3D printed Microstructure Patches’.

The group is now testing the patch’s ability to deliver a vaccine dose via the skin at its laboratories in the Institute of Life Science (ILS2) at Swansea University in Wales.

Dr Michael Graz, chief scientific officer of Innoture, said: “In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, vaccine developers and manufacturers face a major challenge to rapidly develop and upscale their vaccination programmes as the demand for needles, glass vials plus other treatment delivery supplies, increases. Therefore, it is vital that alternative delivery options are considered by the UK – and international – health community.”

He added: “Our transdermal delivery system has the potential to improve patient experience and significantly reduce the burden on the NHS and other healthcare systems.

“The patch is painless and minimally invasive for patients to self-administer. At a time when self-isolation is necessary, the patch can be applied with ease in the home under guidance from a healthcare professional, reducing the need for people to attend a clinic. In addition, for healthcare professionals, it shortens consultation or appointment times and potentially removes the need for cold-chain storage.”