Engineering a topical hypobaric patch: A needle-free solution for biopharmaceutical drug administration into the skin

Lead Research Organisation: University of Surrey
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


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Benaouda F (2022) Needleless administration of advanced therapies into the skin via the appendages using a hypobaric patch. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

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Sebastia-Saez D (2021) Numerical analysis of the strain distribution in skin domes formed upon the application of hypobaric pressure. in Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI)

Description Advanced therapies are commonly administered via injection even when they act within the skin tissue, and this increases the chances of off-target effects. In this project, we have found the use of a skin patch containing a hypobaric chamber that induces skin dome formation to enable needleless delivery of advanced therapies directly into the skin. Finite element method modelling showed that the hypobaric chamber in the patch opened the skin appendages, thinned the skin, and compressed the appendage wall epithelia. These changes allowed direct delivery of an H1N1 vaccine antigen and a diclofenac nanotherapeutic into the skin. Fluorescence imaging and infrared mapping of the skin showed needleless delivery via the appendages. The in vivo utility of the patch was demonstrated. In silico modelling was also used together with experimental studies to elucidate the mechanisms of increased delivery. It was found that the enlargement of the hair follicle, due to hypobaric pressure, alone cannot satisfactorily explain the increased transdermal permeation. The results from the in-silico simulations suggest that the application of hypobaric pressure increases diffusion in the skin, which leads to improved overall transdermal permeation.
Exploitation Route We envisage that the findings, and tools developed (both experimental methods and models, and in silico simulation methods), will be taken forward to the next stage design of the device from a laboratory prototype into a higher technology readiness level. We are exploring options for innovation funding to support the further development.
Sectors Chemicals,Healthcare

Description A multiplexed micro-suction biomarker extraction device to understand atopic eczema in babies
Amount £461,207 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/X013294/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 06/2023 
End 01/2026
Description Improving the productivity of topical drug delivery through in situ academic entrepreneurship
Amount £68,071 (GBP)
Funding ID 75251 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2021 
End 07/2022