The world is facing a global cancer crisis. 13.7 million new cancer cases and 8.6 million cancer deaths occurred worldwide in 2011. More than half of the new cases, and nearly two-thirds of deaths, were in developing countries. Despite substantial innovations, there remains a lack of treatment methods that are cost-effective enough to be widely and practically implemented in these countries.
The existing methods for administration of these drugs have been primarily through intravenous delivery via a complex and costly pole-based infusion pump setup. These setups are needed to administer complex drug schedules and as a result, infusion pumps have prevented treatment for early-stage cancers from becoming widely accessible.
We have a solution. Four Harvard University students of various disciplines have founded Theratech and have introduced the ChemoPatchTM, a low-cost, disposable, and electronic patch-based cancer chemotherapy device designed to be simple, automated, and easy-to-use by cancer patients outside of the hospital, yet cutting-edge in it's ability to deliver quality early-stage chemotherapy.
Our Competitive Advantage:
Iontophoretic electronic technology was first introduced to the market in the 2000’s as an alternative to infusion based setups but was never proven to be adequate for 2 main reasons: 1) it requires chemotherapy infusion drugs to be reformulated for storage in the iontophoretic patch reservoir and 2) it only allows for 1 drug at a time.
Our solution, the ChemoPatchTM, fills both of these technology gaps at a much lower price. Chemotherapy drugs can be loaded as they currently exist and the ChemoPatchTM is able to administer 3 different chemotherapy drugs in select doses and at specific time intervals. Additionally, drug delivery is automated allowing patients to reduced the frequency of hospital visits.
Our innovative technology is the result of employing cutting-edge microfabrication resources at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Specifically, the ChemoPatch consists of 4 components:
1) a novel, patent-pending micropump for drug delivery
2) a drug reservoir that contains up to 3 separate chemotherapy drugs
3) a microneedle array for the painless administration of drugs
4) a simple microcontroller-based electronic circuit for complex programmable delivery scheduling.
As per quotes from raw material suppliers and device assembly manufacturers, our device has a production cost of only $35 per unit when completely assembled and sterilized.
At the heart of the ChemoPatch is our patent-pending plastic-based and low-cost micropump technology. We have developed the first highly accurate micropump that is completely plastic-based, allowing for the first truly disposable micropump-based patch technology for drug delivery.
Our Path to Market:
In order to demonstrate the viability of the ChemoPatch, we are conducting a pilot study of early-stage breast cancer in India within the next 12 months. With over 115,000 new diagnoses in India each year, there is a sizable need for better treatment. Eventually, we will introduce the ChemoPatch in the U.S. pending regulatory approval. Our end goal is to bridge the gap between technology and cost-effectiveness in high-quality first-line cancer care, making it accessible for all.