West adds to its syringe-development capabilities with designer partnership

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Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - January/February 2009,

Collaboration has multiple designs for prefilled and other syringes in the works

Bundling medical device user research, design, and mechanical innovation with manufacturing expertise in a single-source service offering is the objective of a marketing agreement between injectables component maker West and Chicago-based medical device developer Insight Product Development LLC. “It’s a relatively straightforward value proposition,” says Chris Evans, manager for innovation concepts at West, of the design-through-manufacturing offering. “Many clients are familiar with using consultants for design and mechanical innovation, but not necessarily with having one team handle the process.”


Clinicians, patients, and doctors sometimes have difficulty articulating what they like or dislike in a medical device, or describing the features they want, says Evans. “You have to extract it from them.” That’s what Insight brings to the deal—years of medical device user research. It combines that knowledge with product development methods that integrate compliance and FDA requirements, he says. “Insight provides West customers with access to more than 20 years of experience in product development, conceptual design, and research methods capabilities.”

Lionville, PA-based West brings components expertise to the deal, thanks to its experience in manufacturing such drug-administration safety devices as stoppers and seals for vials and plungers, as well as prefillable syringe components. West is also tapping the injection molding expertise of The Tech Group, a Scottsdale, AZ, contract manufacturer it acquired in 2005.

Evans says West made a corporate decision to be more than a maker of component rubber compound products. “We wanted to become a developer of design platforms, and of the intellectual property to be used.”

West and Insight have been working together for two years and have “a lot of syringe and injectable product designs that are still top secret,” Evans says. One example that he can discuss is Confidose, a disposable auto-injector system for self-injection therapy that was announced last fall. It’s in the final stages of development and not yet on the market, but West is showing it to clients.

Confidose incorporates an affixed needle prefilled syringe format that can be used with either a glass or crystalline plastic syringe. When the user presses a button, a needle extends to deliver a dose of medication and then retracts. After use, the needle is shielded within the system to prevent needle-stick injury and to make the system safe for disposal. Confidose is assembled by the pharmaceutical manufacturer with individual doses of medication in prefilled syringes.