Vaccine and Pharmaceutical Technologies

Areas of focus

Enhancing product efficiency, safety, storage, and impact in low-resource settings

PATH’s work in the vaccine and pharmaceutical technologies space extends across three interrelated yet thematically unique technical portfolios. Each represents a strategic area of focus and includes scopes of work that range from broad portfolio-related activities to single technology development projects.

Delivery Technologies portfolio

PATH has a long history working to develop, evaluate, and advance technologies as well as user aids that make it easier to safely deliver vaccines and essential medicines. Groundbreaking innovations include the Soloshot™ syringe, the first commercialized autodisable syringe, and the Uniject™ injection system, the world’s most inexpensive prefilled syringe with autodisable features.

Today, much of our current work centers on identifying means to reduce needlestick injuries by determining the value, appropriateness, and acceptability of injection technologies that shield or eliminate needles, such as disposable-syringe jet injectors or microneedle patches. Simultaneously, our teams are investigating options for intradermal vaccine delivery because some vaccines may be protective at far lower doses when administered directly under the skin, potentially helping to lower costs and expand vaccine supplies for immunization programs worldwide. We are also designing, assessing, and/or helping to adapt a range of novel primary container and packaging options, from blow-fill-seal containers and oral droppers to multidose presentations and reconstitution technologies. Visit our Delivery Technologies portfolio site to learn more »

Formulation and Stabilization Technologies portfolio

For more than a decade, PATH has been working to develop and advance novel technologies, formulations, and processing methods to achieve vaccine and pharmaceutical products that reduce system costs; ease logistics; improve safety; and maximize access, coverage, and impact in developing countries. As a technical resource center, we play a key role in inventing, adapting, testing, and validating emerging concepts and formulation technologies that optimize product stability and enhance product efficacy—two attributes of critical importance to public health programs in low-resource settings.

We have conducted landmark research on the technical and commercial feasibility of improving vaccine stability, helping vaccines to be stable at temperatures that fall above or below the ”standard” cold chain temperature range (i.e., 2°C–8°C). We have also examined the economic, logistical, regulatory, procurement, and policy issues associated with the development, licensing, and use of stabilized vaccines, including freeze-stable vaccines, which are specially formulated to withstand the irreversible damage that can result from exposure to freezing temperatures. We also regularly work with manufacturers to apply stabilization techniques to new vaccines and essential medicines as they are developed.

As part of our work to enhance product efficacy, our teams additionally work to identify and evaluate adjuvants and novel adjuvant formulations that may help to augment the breadth and magnitude of the immunological response. In some cases, adjuvants may also help to reduce the cost per dose of vaccines. We are also investigating novel processing technologies and product formats, such as fast-dissolving tablets and thermoresponsive gels, which may further enhance vaccine and pharmaceutical effectiveness, safety, and efficiency in low-resource settings. Visit our Formulation and Stabilization Technologies portfolio site to learn more »

Supply Systems and Equipment portfolio

A constrained cold chain can limit how many people receive lifesaving interventions. PATH develops and works to facilitate access to innovative technologies that help to store, monitor, and transport vaccines and pharmaceuticals at appropriate temperatures, even to rural communities with little to no electricity.

Our efforts include storage containers with freeze prevention features, battery-free solar refrigerators and freezers, quality retrofits for domestic refrigerators used to store vaccines, and temperature indicators, such as the vaccine vial monitor, which measures the cumulative heat exposure that causes vaccine potency loss. Within the technology space of health management information system solutions for immunization, we worked to develop the Cold Chain Equipment Manager toolkit—a group of tools that help countries to forecast cold chain equipment requirements down to the facility level. In addition, we continue to research the use of barcodes to increase the speed and accuracy of vaccine stock processing and distribution tracking. At the same time, we are working with countries and international partners to evaluate supply systems and develop training curricula as well as assessment tools that ensure that health workers have the information and equipment they need to safely store and transport vaccines and other essential medicines now and into the future. Visit our Supply Systems and Equipment portfolio site to learn more »

SoloShot and Uniject are trademarks of BD.