HP in medical licensing deal with Galway firm

11 Sep 2007

Technology giant HP has entered into a technology licensing deal with a Galway-based firm that will see the commercial rollout of a drug delivery platform that will help to replace hypodermic needles, it emerged this morning.

Under the agreement, HP will license its intellectual property to Crospon in return for royalty payments.

Crospon, which recently received seed funding of €2.3m, will manufacture the skin patch and manage all marketing, sales and support of the technology.

Crospon will commercialise the patch, which was invented by HP Labs, the company’s central research facility, and make it available to pharmaceutical companies to use in various therapeutic areas.

The HP patch delivers medication intradermally – just below the surface of the skin – and enables precise control of dosage timing, access to dosage history, patient activation mechanisms and inherent safety protocols for preventing adverse drug interactions.

Transdermal patches (which rely on absorption through the skin) for nicotine delivery have become a mainstay for smoking cessation programs; however, they have not been a widely effective delivery mechanism for many drugs because the skin acts as a natural barrier.

The HP-developed skin patch uses microneedles that barely penetrate the skin; this radically reduces discomfort compared to traditional hypodermic needles and enables the technique to be used with a much wider variety of drugs and biopharmaceuticals.

The microneedles allow medication to quickly enter the bloodstream, resulting in the potential delivery of lower and more precise dosages.

HP initially developed the drug delivery technology as a way to repurpose its inkjet technology for use in new markets. The technology in the skin patch is similar to that employed in HP’s patented process for its inkjet cartridges.

“This industry-first skin patch invented by HP allows Crospon to offer a superior drug delivery platform for doctors and patients,” said John O’Dea, chief executive officer, Crospon. “We look forward to working with our pharmaceutical customers to bring this breakthrough solution to the market.”

The agreement between HP and Crospon resulted in part from HP’s relationship with Enterprise Ireland. Through Enterprise Ireland, companies can license the intellectual property of HP and access the company’s business and technology mentoring.

“We encourage companies like Crospon to apply HP’s intellectual property in innovative ways to help more people benefit from these important technologies,” said Joe Beyers, vice president, Intellectual Property Licensing, HP.

“By licensing core intellectual property in thermal inkjet technology for use in a drug delivery product, HP breathes new life into its mature technology while capitalizing on the booming healthcare and life sciences market,” Beyers added.

By John Kennedy

Pictured are John O’Dea, managing director, Crospon Ltd and Janice Nickel, HP.