Gilbert Technologies: Redefining Pulmonary Drug Administration and Therapy Adherence
Maurits Huigen, COO
When it comes to pulmonary drug administration and therapy adherence, it is noted that many of the commercially available inhalers such as Dry Powder Inhalers (DPIs) and Metered Dose Inhalers (MDIs) are relatively limited in their effectiveness. This is because an astounding 60-90 percent of the drug is lost in the oropharynx, the inhaler itself, exhaled breath and the environment, leaving only a mere 10-40 percent to reach the lungs. Also, these inhalers are unable to administer the dosage that targets specific parts of the lungs. Adding to these challenges is the inability to aerosolize more complex and advanced molecular entities (biologicals, proteins, DNA), which are currently unable to be inhaled with the existing technologies. This puts a real burden on treatment effectiveness and patient adherence, increasing cost and drug dosage. Recognizing these challenges, Gilbert Technologies—a spin-off of the Delft University of Technology—developed the Electro Hydro Dynamic Atomization (EHDA) or ‘Electrospray’ technology for aerosolization and precise medication targeting of more complex and advanced molecular entities and simplifying inhalation technique for patients enabling improved drug administration, therapy adherence, and reduced healthcare costs. “We aim to accelerate innovation in medical device technologies for patients, healthcare providers, and payers,” states George Hersbach, CEO of Gilbert Technologies.
GT’s EHDA technology refers to a process, whereby a liquid jet—drug formulation—breaks up into droplets under the influence of electric forces. The formulation is pumped through a nozzle at a low flow rate where an electric field is applied between the nozzle and the counter electrode.
Under suitable conditions, a thin liquid jet will emerge from the nozzle and break up to produce a softmist of monodisperse droplets. This enables clinicians to establish more effective and precise drug deposition by controlling the droplet size. This allows depending on the condition and medication administration, the medicine to be accurately targeted in the bronchial tree. “For instance, for specific indications, it is relevant for the drug to be deposited more in the higher parts of the respiratory tract while for some it has to be targeted in the distal regions of the bronchial tree,” points Maurits Huigen, COO of Gilbert Technologies.
Additionally, EHDA’s adaptive dosage capability aids the physicians to create modulations to compensate for the prior deviations from the prescribed therapy or to allow for adjustments to the prescribed therapy in amount and droplet size. This adjustable dosage and electronic architecture are creating a major evolution enhancing patient adherence to a greater extent. Besides improving patient’s adherence, GT’s EHDA technology also promotes smarter strategies of using the medication by lowering dosage, frequency and side effects using smart electronics (apps). The technology can be used to treat Cystic Fibrosis (CF), Severe Asthma, Oncology (Lung cancer), Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension as well as Non-CF Bronchiectasis, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, Transplantation, Pain management, Vaccination, and other indications.
With GT’s firm commitment and next-gen technology, they are tapping into numerous opportunities in the field of pulmonary drug administration. By collaborating with Delft University of Technology, NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, ERN-LUNG Expertise Centers and FLUIDDA, the firm is continuously enhancing its devices, creating long-term value for patients, companies, and shareholders. In the coming years, GT is looking out for more exciting partners who will assist them in finding new routes in the pulmonary administration to show a better route for patients. As for the solution side, the firm’s first focus is to develop a handheld device which can significantly reduce time to deliver the prescribed dosage of antibiotics and minimize the side effects of Cystic Fibrosis patients in comparison with the existing devices. This is instantly followed by Asthma/COPD (severe Asthma), Oncology and Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension.
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