The Rise of Medication Delivery Devices as a Key Point of Differentiation – Part I

Technological innovations are driving a transition in the pharmaceutical industry and a new focus on adherence is occurring in the consumer-driven medical device industry. Medical devices are seen as a way to improve both patient satisfaction and adherence, leading many pharmaceutical companies to incorporate into their portfolio. Auto-injectors are at the forefront of this transition and have become the new standard for biologics delivery in the immunology and endocrinology therapeutic areas. As competition intensifies in these industries, pharmaceutical companies have begun to position their auto-injectors as a key differentiator in crowded markets.

The process of designing, developing, and manufacturing of medical devices can be long and demanding. This lengthy process has lead many pharmaceutical companies look to, and partner with, world-class design firms and medical device manufacturers for device development.

In this post we will discuss several examples of how medical devices have changed the overall pharmaceutical market.

UCB Cimzia ava

The Cimzia ava, designed and developed through a partnership between UCB and OXO, is a new breed of electromechanical injection devices. The Cimzia ava received CHMP approval in 2017 and is currently available in the EU. While the ava is slightly bulkier than most auto-injectors, it features a small screen that displays notifications and an injection log. In addition to these smart features, the ava has a built-in skin sensor that ensures the device is positioned correctly and in contact with the patient’s skin. Unlike most auto-injectors, the ava features single-use cassettes while the device itself is reusable.


Eli Lilly Taltz Auto-Injector

The Taltz auto-injector entered the U.S. market when Taltz launched in 2016. The auto-injector was developed through a partnership between Eli Lilly and Battelle. The device is delivered pre-loaded and integrates several unique features to promote differentiation in the highly competitive U.S. dermatology market.

One such feature that improves the ease of use is the integration of audio and visual confirmations at the start and end of the injection. The device also features textured grips for improved handling and a locking mechanism to prevent premature discharge of the drug.


Elcam Medical and Dali Medical Devices Flexi-Q HV and Flexi-Q DV

The Flexi-Q HV and DV are two platforms that offer drug loading and delivery from pre-filled syringes and vials respectively. The devices were birthed from a partnership between Elcam Medical and Dali Medical Devices and are not currently on the market; the Flexi-Q DV has received 510(k) clearance and the Flexi-Q HV is under development. Both devices are fully automated and include audio and visual confirmation at the start and end of the injection. These products represent a unique opportunity for pharmaceutical manufacturers in search of differentiated delivery systems with customizable device features without the typical protracted device development process.


Companion Medical InPen

The InPen from Companion Medical is a revolutionary insulin delivery device and is the only FDA-cleared smart insulin pen with an accompanying diabetes management app. The iOS version of the app has been available since December 2017 and the FDA cleared the Android version of the app on July 9, 2018; the app is expected to become available on the Android marketplace in 2019. The InPen combines the mobile app with the Bluetooth enabled pen injector to track, monitor, calculate dosing requirements, and send reports directly to caregivers. Through reporting to patients and caregivers alike, the InPen is well positioned to gain market share in the U.S. endocrinology market and increase medication adherence. The InPen is compatible with Humalog U100 Cartridge 3 mL and NovoLog U100 Cartridge 3 mL.


Landscape assessments, competitor deep dives, strategy workshops, conference coverage, and win/loss analysis are all proven as effective tools to better understand the medical device competitive landscape. For more information about how to maintain a competitive advantage in medical devices, please contact Cinda Steele at [email protected] or 610-496-0080.


Benjamin Burroughs, Senior Analyst