In a bid to revolutionize vaccine delivery and save lives, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $23.6 million in funding to Micron Biomedical, an American life sciences company. This money will be used to mass produce needle-free vaccination technology, which involves delivering biologics through dissolvable microneedles attached to the skin in a patch-like device.
Despite its potential, increasing production of this technology has been a significant challenge. However, a recent trial in Gambia demonstrated that Micron’s device can safely and effectively deliver measles and rubella vaccines to adults, babies, and children, producing a similar immune response as traditional syringes.
According to James Goodson, a senior scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the needle-free technology could help overcome some of the biggest obstacles to eradicating measles and rubella worldwide. The technology does not require a cold chain for distribution or a professional to administer it, making it easier to use in various settings. It could also benefit those who fear injections.
With this funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Micron Biomedical will be able to develop a plant capable of manufacturing about 10 million devices per year. This will enable larger clinical trials and, subject to regulatory approvals, broader use of the needle-free vaccination technology across the globe.
Global health experts see this technology as a potential breakthrough in vaccine delivery that could help save lives, especially in low-income countries where traditional injections are difficult to administer. With this new funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Micron Biomedical is one step closer to making this dream a reality.