Building on our expertise in MEMS and microfluidics technologies, Draper is developing a drug delivery system to specifically address the challenges associated with administering therapeutic agents to areas of the body that are difficult to reach and that require precise, controlled dosing. These include the central nervous system, brain, and inner ear for treatment of diseases and disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and certain types of hearing loss.
Still in early stages of development, Draper’s current design contains an externally-programmable pump, catheter, mixing chamber, and sensors for detecting and transmitting flow and pressure information. Providing targeted delivery of drugs in a long-term, programmable, and precise way will open up new treatment options because targeted delivery not only enables crossing of the blood-brain barrier or other similar obstacles in the body, but it also reduces the total amount of drug that must be delivered, minimizing systemic side effects to the patient.
In the near term, Draper’s system also can be used as a drug research and development tool. Pharmaceutical companies can use it in the laboratory to test new therapeutic compounds in early-stage development. Draper is actively seeking partnerships with pharmaceutical and drug device companies to pursue this vision.