Drug delivery system developer Vaxxas has automated the process it uses for manufacturing its high-density microarray patch (HD-MAP) which administers vaccinations to patients.
Working with automation specialist Aim Lab, the Brisbane company needed to speed up the manufacturing process for its micro-array systems that encompass thousands of micro-projections that can be coated with a vaccine and then applied to the body.
The initial process used by Vaxxas to assemble its HD-MAP applicators was mostly manual and produced enough product to be used for early-phase clinical studies.
However, to progress to quantities required for later-phase trials, and ultimately commercial production, Vaxxas needed to scale its manufacturing capabilities.
Aim Lab needed to develop completely novel machinery suitable for working in a sterile environment.
Aim Lab R&D manager Damien Braun said the four month development timeline was tight, especially during supply chain disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Braun said: “There were high accuracy requirements that had to be met.
“Our approach was to use existing electronics and hardware such as bearings and valves to mitigate supply chain issues.
“Every aspect of the solution was designed in-house, including industrial design, mechanisms, software and electrical.”
The result is a semi-automated process based on existing manual assembly operations, that can operate with little training and while wearing gloves.
It incorporates a digital camera and display to improve the quality control and inspection stages, removing the need for the operator to touch the HD-MAP.
Vaxxas Head of Clinical Operations Charles Ross said: “This new technology has enabled us to automate time-critical and force-critical process steps that were challenging for an operator to deliver consistently.
“By simplifying these steps, the equipment has reduced the physical and mental demands of the role and will allow us to scale-up our manufacturing capabilities.”
Picture: Aim Lab