Low-Cost Syringe Technology May Enable Subcutaneous Injection of Viscous Formulations

In late August, MIT announced that a group of MIT researchers led by Kripa Varanasi published a paper describing a low-cost technology for

administering biological drug formulations otherwise too viscous to be injected using conventional medical syringes.  The system utilizes a syringe having an inner barrel containing viscous drug fluid and an outer barrel containing a thin coating of lubricant capable of reducing injection force by up to seven times.  In the announcement, Dr. Varanasi explained that the improvement may enable patients to self-administer drugs that would ordinarily require a hospital visit and allow drug developers to explore high-viscosity treatments that were previously inaccessible due to injectability barriers.  For example, he noted that the technology could play an important role during the current pandemic by enabling immunocompromised patients to subcutaneously self-administer medication at home.  More broadly, Varanasi believes that “[s]elf-administration of drugs or vaccines can help democratize access to health care.”