Formatec contributes to inhaler technology breakthrough

19-Aug-2010

German-based RPC Formatec\'s expertise in inhaler technology has been instrumental in the development of the Watchhaler, a revolutionary inhalation concept for children devised by Activaero, a German specialist in pulmonary drug delivery and inhalation devices.

German-based RPC Formatec\'s expertise in inhaler technology has been instrumental in the development of the Watchhaler, a revolutionary inhalation concept for children devised by Activaero, a German specialist in pulmonary drug delivery and inhalation devices.

In Europe an estimated 1.6 million children under the age of five suffer from asthma, but current inhalation systems have been created and designed for adults. To make these systems suitable for children, asthma experts advocate the use of a holding chamber known as a spacer, into which the aerosol spray is released before it is inhaled by the child.

Activaero identified four key concerns common to the spacers available on the market, and created a variety of intellectual property to meet these requirements. RPC Formatec has been supporting Activaero in this exciting and challenging project. The result is the Watchhaler, developed especially to suit the requirements of children and the supervising adults.

The first consideration was the aesthetic appearance of the device. Activaero recognised that children can be intimidated by the typically \'cold\' and functional designs of spacers and strove to replace this with a more welcoming look, through the use of vivid colours and an animal-like shape.

The second challenge was to overcome the risk of giving an electrostatic charge to the spacer during handling, as the charge can attract the drug to the walls of the surface and reduce the time available for inhalation. Activaero\'s solution is a protective outer chamber around the aerosol balloon so that it cannot be touched. The drug can now remain airborne within the balloon for more than two minutes.

The third factor is to ensure a controlled, efficient delivery of the drug, something that Activaero believed was not possible with the face masks commonly supplied with spacers. Instead, the Watchhaler uses a mechanical valve at the air inlet, which reduces inhalation velocity to allow a slow, controlled delivery of the therapeutic aerosol.

The final innovation is that the balloon folds up during inhalation, providing parents with a clear means of identifying whether the process has been successful.

The Watchhaler consists of nine parts, all injection moulded at RPC Formatec. Seven parts are manufactured in PP and ABS, while the other two are in LSR (liquid silicone rubber). The back of the Watchhaler is tampo printed.

\'The concept behind Watchhaler is to turn inhalation into child\'s play., and we required a manufacturing specialist who could produce the parts to the required standard,\' said Sascha Roeder, product manager of Activaero. \'RPC Formatec has done a superb job to translate our pioneering concept into a highly functional inhalation device.\'

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\'We are excited about the level of expertise in aerosol science and pulmonology condensed at Activaero,\' added Markus Thau, project manager from RPC Formatec. \'Since inhaled drug delivery is one of our strategic focus areas, we are looking forward to a fruitful cooperation.\'

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