The Nanopatch™, a leading needle-free method for delivering vaccines, is another example of UQ-based research that has the potential for significant global impact. Invented by Professor Mark Kendall and his team, the Nanopatch™ has received numerous awards – including a Eureka Prize and a Rolex Laureate. Professor Kendall founded Vaxxas Pty Ltd with a $15 million venture capital investment to further develop the product.

The Nanopatch™ consists of thousands of vaccine-coated microprojections that perforate into the outer layers of the skin when applied with an applicator device. The tips of the microprojections are dry-coated with vaccine, which releases directly and immediately to the key immune cells below the skin’s surface.

The innovative technology’s direct delivery has the potential to enhance the immune response generated by a vaccine, or allow the generation of an effective immune response with a fraction of a full vaccine dose. In preclinical studies, the Nanopatch™ has prompted a protective immunogenic response using as little as one hundredth of the dose required by conventional needles and syringes.

Benefits of the invention include temperature stability, which introduces the option of distributing vaccines to parts of the world where cold chain infrastructure is unreliable or non-existent. The projections are also invisible to the naked eye and are expected to be a preference amongst people who fear needles, which is a benefit hoped to improve patient compliance.

Additionally, the Nanopatch™ is designed to provide a pain-free experience, because the projections do not reach a depth where they meet nerve endings.

With its low-cost manufacture, dose-reduction and its elimination of the need for cold chain, the Nanopatch™ is expected to significantly improve the reach of effective, low-cost vaccines to people – particularly in the developing world, where most deaths due to infectious diseases occur.

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