Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Formulation and Stabilization Technologies

Novel product formats and delivery routes

Innovations to ensure broader impact

A number of product development partnerships are actively developing new vaccines and essential medicines to help improve health outcomes in developing countries. To be successful, these products must be more than safe and efficacious; they should also overcome many of the technical challenges faced by developing-country health care programs, helping to ensure product delivery and use at the right place, at the right time, and in the right condition.

Enhanced stability, compact packaging, and improved ease of use (e.g., needle-free formats that utilize mucosal delivery routes) are product features that can help to ensure more efficient and effective delivery of vaccines and essential medicines in low-resource settings. Our scientists frequently collaborate with other PATH colleagues working in the areas of delivery technologies and supply systems and equipment to help manufacturers and technology developers understand, design, and achieve these and other important product attributes, which broadly include the following:

  • Enhanced thermostability (heat and freeze protection) to ease supply logistics and distribution.
  • Compact, low-weight packaging to minimize product volume.
  • Increased potential for fractional dosing to reduce supply and delivery costs.
  • Improved ease of use within different delivery scenarios (routine immunization or mass campaign).
  • Simplified product preparation to ensure effective delivery.
  • Autodisable features to prevent the reuse of sharps.
  • Materials (including primary container and secondary and tertiary packaging) that minimize environmental impacts, the risk of needlestick injury, and unsafe medical waste.

Recent highlights and key activities

  • Developing needle-free, heat-stable product formats that can facilitate sublingual (under the tongue) mucosal delivery and better enable health workers with minimal training to safely and effectively administer certain vaccines and some drugs to patients. Visit our page on mucosal delivery to learn more »
  • Participating in the Vaccine Presentation and Packaging Advisory Group (VPPAG), a forum for dialogue between vaccine industry representatives and agencies involved in the public-sector procurement and delivery of vaccines. The VPPAG works to reach consensus on product profile guidelines and specifications for vaccines that are in the early stages of development.
  • Serving on the World Health Organization (WHO) Immunization Practices Advisory Committee, which supports and advises WHO on immunization practices, operational standards, tools, and technologies to strengthen and improve immunization programs.
  • Working with immunization program stakeholders throughout the world to collect data and feedback on desirable product attributes, helping to inform product presentation guidelines set by international agencies and other relevant decisions made by product developers and donors.

Additional information