The Economist is profiling the latest efforts to develop smart pills that can wirelessly communicate information about the state of their absorption in the GI tract, as well as be designed to deliver a pharmacological load at a precise time and location. We’ve written about a number of the technologies mentioned in the article, particularly Proteus Biomedical’s chip on a pill that Novartis has recently invested in.
A snippet from the article:
Though Proteus is in the vanguard, it has rivals. Philips, a big Dutch electronics company, has just set up a commercial group to promote its “intelligent pill”, which is able to deliver drugs at precisely the right spot in the digestive tract. MicroCHIPS, an American start-up, is developing smart, implantable microchips which have reservoirs to hold drugs or tiny monitoring devices. John Santini, its boss, says his company is working on drug delivery with a big pharmaceuticals firm, and that his laboratory curiosity will be a commercial reality within three to five years.
Terry Hisey of Deloitte, a consultancy, argues that the coupling of smart pills with wireless networks and mobile phones, allowing the information the pills capture to be beamed to doctors, patients and relatives, turns the technology into “a disruptive innovation about to happen”.
The Economist: Potential encapsulated