BD Technologies developed a needle-free vaccine delivery system as part of a grant supported by the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. To be viable in small villages in developing countries (where the greatest need lies), the system must not require the use of refrigeration or electricity, must be simple to administer by minimally trained personnel, must be effective on children ages 1-4 (who are not capable of cooperation) or adults, must be safe against spreading disease (by preventing re-use), must be relatively compact for shipping, must not require any special means of disposal, and finally, must have a cost per unit dose equal to or less than existing injection methods. Indeed, this is a grand challenge for engineering.
BD Technologies turned to Porticos for innovative engineering to help its team develop the delivery system so that it could be tested in Phase I clinical trials. Porticos provided new thinking to discover simple solutions that were easy to prototype for laboratory testing and helped BD extend its intellectual property based on the Solovent platform.
The approach pursued was to aerosolize a dose of powdered vaccine for inhalation using a simple device constructed of simple materials. BD utilized its Solovent unit dose dry powder inhaler (DPI) platform to aerosolize the powder, and needed a means of containing the cloud of vaccine and an interface for effective delivery to patients.