The injectable drug delivery industry as a whole has been moving towards developing platform device technologies, which are defined by a preset design and a cohesive architecture that can be shared by products within the same family. Platform technologies are designed to support faster development and reduced costs, but the conventional scope is now posing new challenges to device developers as well as their pharmaceutical partners. This is especially true when distinct industrial designs or specific primary container types become necessary to accommodate new generations of medications and different patients’ needs.
What device companies need are device designs and production processes that can offer flexibility beyond the traditional platform technology – a modular platform technology.
The modular platform technology
The concept of modularity originates from the general attempt to understand and operationalize complex systems. In a modular platform, the product is divided into modules that can be exchanged with other elements of different sizes or functionality to create variants.1 Asset flexibility, cost of goods, and investment deferment are just some of the key drivers behind modular systems.2 When done correctly, modularity supports standardization, repeatability, as well as customization.
In the autoinjector industry, modularity refers to a solution that leverages the benefits of a platform device technology while still allowing various customizations in the device design and development models. SHL Medical’s Molly® family of autoinjectors is indicative of how modularity built upon an established platform can enable flexibility, scalability, and timeliness.
Built upon a modular platform technology, the 1.0mL and 2.25mL Molly autoinjectors enable an appreciable level of flexibility for customization in their industrial designs, such as customizing the color of the cap, plunger rod, and needle cover, or the shape of the cap and body to create an autoinjector with a bespoke design. These customizations, whether for branding and market differentiation or for patient usability and distinguishability, are implemented while maintaining Molly’s rotator-based mechanism – the core technology supporting the many Molly autoinjectors deployed to patients around the world.3
Molly’s modularity further extends to various layers of the device development process, including component assembly and final device testing. The mature infrastructure of SHL’s in-house design and development ecosystem makes it possible to share manufacturing assets across multiple Molly device projects, resulting in the simplification of the development process and the optimization of project timelines.
Supporting patient-centric healthcare
The autoinjector market will become increasingly patient-focused, creating an imperative for flexible and modular tools and technologies that help bring innovative drugs to patients. The flexibility offered by Molly’s modular platform technology has been successfully embodied in multiple commercial launches with various levels of design customization, treating a myriad of disease areas that cover 85% of the most common afflictions requiring injected medicines.4
While these successes validate the stratification of Molly’s offerings in the market, Molly’s true value lies in its flexible design and development model that allows for future extension – including production scalability and lifecycle management − in response to industrial advancements, such as in data science, connectivity, and sustainability.
For more information, visit the Molly website, or download the Molly White Paper.
- Zha, Xuan F., and Ram D. Sriram. “Platform-Based Product Design and Development: A Knowledge-Intensive Support Approach.” Knowledge-Based Systems, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 524–543, 2006.
- Hernandez R, “Modular Manufacturing Platforms for Biologics”. BioPharm International, 28 (5), 2015.
- SHL Medical. Molly webpage. 2021.
- Pharmaceutical Technology “How autoinjector devices breathe new life into injectable medicines”. 2021.