Needle-Free Transmucosal Drug Delivery System | SRI International
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scientist checking a batch of vaccines

Needle-Free Transmucosal Drug Delivery System

SRI has patented a novel approach to vaccine delivery that is safe for pediatric use, eliminating the need for painful injections.

The mucous membrane of the nasal cavity is most frequently used for delivery of antigens and medications for localized infections. Because mucous membranes respond strongly to foreign matter, they are ideally suited for the introduction of vaccines, where both systemic and local immune responses are desired. Most pediatric vaccines are injections, which can be painful to children and difficult to administer safely in poorer regions of the world.

SRI has patented a transmucosal bioadhesive drug delivery system that uses gels for drug delivery and allows for a much longer release time compared to alternatives such as sprays or liquids. SRI's needle-free technology can be used to safely deliver vaccines nasally, including those for pediatric use. 

Transmucosal delivery is an effective means to introduce drugs across the mucous membrane to the systemic circulation, avoiding the gastrointestinal tract and "first pass liver metabolism," which can result in only a small proportion of a drug reaching the desired targets in the body. The ease of transmucosal administration, by nebulizers or sprays, for example, often improves patient compliance compared to other forms of drug delivery such as injection.

The SR-2P bioadhesive formulation contains two polymers that are pH and temperature-responsive and FDA-approved for use other generally recognized as safe (GRAS) products. On mixing and application to the physiological site, the two components form an adhesive gel that attaches to the mucosa, creating a platform for drug release. Qualities of the gel allow for the controlled release of drug substance over hours rather than minutes.

The sustained and enhanced release of therapeutic and preventive treatments enabled by SRI's bioadhesive drug delivery platform can significantly improve effectiveness and outcomes. In addition, enhancing the stability of the individual components might allow storage and delivery to parts of the world where refrigeration is not available and is sorely needed.

The project described was supported by grant number 1 R03 AI059234 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a division of the National Institutes of Health.