Bespak adds new asthma inhaler to its belt

By Kirsty Barnes

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Asthma

Bang & Olufsen Medicom has joined with specialist device
manufacturer Bespak to co-develop and co-market a new single
increment dose counting inhaler for the expanding asthma and COPD
(chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) market.

The Assist Actuated Inhaler is now ready for sampling and the two companies are looking for a drug firm to bring the device into clinical trials.

"This could take a while as there is a lot of competition out there in this area of drug delivery,"​ a Bespak company spokesperson told In-PharmaTechnologist.com.

Companies such as Chiesi, Vectura and Ventaira are busy developing similar devices.

The advantage of this device is that it will be the first integrated dose-counting device to feature an assisted firing mechanism, making it easier for patients to use, particularly children and the elderly, said the spokesperson.

"It only requires 20 newtons of force to activate, compared to other devices that require double this,"​ he said.

"The dose counter will also enable patients to gauge accurately when they are running out of medication,"​ said the spokesperson.

With most current inhalers, patients have to either keep a record of the doses they take or float the drug canister in water - the more buoyant the canister is, the more empty it is.

"These methods are quite primitive,"​ said the spokesperson.

"There are already some dose counter devices available but these are not always reliable as it is possible for the counter to be clicked without the device firing - this cannot happen with the Assist Actuated Inhaler."

It will also be the first patient compliance device on the market with a dose counter that meets US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements, according to the two companies.

Patient compliance rates in asthma and COPD are estimated to be in the region of 50 per cent. Significant contributors to patient non-compliance are said to be both forgetfulness and the lack of visibility on dose tracking.

The market for pMDI (pressurised Metered Dose Inhalers) such as this device is believed to have a worldwide volume of 400m units.

Once the device reaches the market, it will be manufactured by Bespak, who already makes a similar asthma/COPD device for Italian firm Chiesi and has been charged with the job of making the insulin delivery device for Pfizer's new hopeful blockbuster, Exubera.

"We were chosen by Bang & Olufsen Medicom because we have a number of successful drug development programs in place with pMDIs and it is difficult for companies to make a dose counter work reliably with the valve units unless they have a lot of experience such as ours,"​ said the spokesperson.

"We also have a lot of manufacturing capacity for these types of devices - we are able to produce up to 250m a year."

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