3M Taper Inhaler

3M Taper Inhaler

3M’s health business turned to Radius to expedite and refine a revolutionary drug delivery technology with a unique enabling device

3M, the American multinational conglomerate, is a workplace and household name and a brand firmly linked to innovation. The company has a long history of growth through applying core competencies and science to introduce new technologies and products across multiple industries. By combining tape manufacturing and drug delivery core competencies and by hiring Radius, the result was a dry powder technology that excelled at introducing drugs into a patient’s blood stream quickly and efficiently.

TECHNOLOGY EXPLORATION / HUMAN FACTORS / INDUSTRIAL DESIGN / CONCEPTUAL ENGINEERING / MECHANICAL DESIGN / REGULATORY COMPLIANCE / QUALIFICATION / MANUFACTURING IMPLEMENTATION / USABILITY & FUNCTIONAL TESTING

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3M had developed a dry powder drug technology in which a drug is loaded in a pattern of micro dimples along a length of continuous tape. Radius was brought in to develop the inhaler delivery device and manufacturing giant Nypro was chosen to commercialize.

A Robust International User Study

Radius embarked first on international, in-home user research, revealing user needs and preferences. Adding to these critical inputs, Radius also conducted intensive 3D form studies and concept mapping in order to discover the best metrics with which to design the delivery system. User research was then implemented repeatedly throughout the design and develop processes. Through continual user testing and validation, Radius was able to design a delivery system where inhalation actuates a coil spring mechanism that impacts the drug carrying tape, releasing the intended dose to the patient’s respiratory system.

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3M taper prototype

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Translating Needs into Innovation

Input from the research activities led to a stylized and discrete industrial design of a device housing that incorporated the research learnings, ensuring it met user needs, including patient-friendly features, such as a visual indicator, dose counter, and comfortable grip. In parallel with the external design of the product, Radius engineers developed the internal mechanisms required to achieve complete, robust function of consistent dose delivery. The internal mechanisms were proven out early in the design process using step-by-step prototyping and proof-of-principle techniques. 

Radius utilized its implementation services to obtain complete injection-molded devices for further verification. The entire process was governed by Radius’s design control process in accordance with regulatory requirements.

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Dry powder inhalation technology is revolutionary and capable of treating an ever-growing list of disease conditions, from asthma, to COPD, to diabetes, to cancer. It provides a higher dose efficiency and also  a welcome alternative to traditional drug delivery forms, including pills (limitations around speed of delivery and risk of being adversely affected by digested acids) and no one’s favorite drug delivery method… injections!

Innovation. Realized through experts converging to optimize convenience, consistency, and efficacious drug delivery for patients everywhere.

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UPDATE

Adamis Pharmaceuticals Corporation has purchased 3M’s Taper Dry Powder Inhaler (DPI) platform technology to add to its range of inhaled products treating asthma and COPD. 3M continues to supply the drug delivery tape for the platform to Adamis under a separate supply agreement.

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