Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 263171
Loughborough University

Centre for Biological Engineering

Design optimisation of a needle-free drug delivery device

test photo

Loughborough University were approached by Glide Pharma to provide engineering support and understanding to their novel drug delivery technology.

The Glide Solid Dose Injector (SDI) is a spring loaded medical device capable of delivering drugs in an implant form through the skin to the adipose tissue. The technology is needle-free eliminating needle-stick injuries, contamination issues and needle phobia. It is hoped that the technology can be used to deliver vaccines to the third world as a cost effective alternative to the traditional needle and syringe.

Previous needle-free technologies have failed to achieve wide market acceptance due to difficulties in overcoming the issues associated with skin variation across a population.

To optimise the Glide SDI design, more has to be learnt about skin's fundamental mechanical properties and the penetration mechanism.

This research project aimed to contribute towards the design, manufacture and compliance of a commercial parenteral drug delivery system through understanding and improving the performance of key system component technologies including the device, implant and target site and integrating these to allow enhanced system performance.

Funding body

Project dates / duration

October 2009 - October 2012

Project team



Alex Lyness: A.M.Lyness@lboro.ac.uk 07917 692621

Project outputs / results

After performing a literature review which identified generic and specific research challenges in parenteral drug delivery, experimental work was undertaken to justify the need to design a novel electro-mechanical test rig capable of delivering implants and measuring the forces during a skin penetration event.

Results from this experimental programme directly led to the identification of key design parameters for the SDI, the presence of skin variation has been detected and quantifed and a repeatable synthetic skin phantom was developed to better determine the performance of the drug delivery system.

No publications are possible from this research until the agreed moratorium period elapses and thesis content becomes available in May 2016.


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