Sorrel Medical – Delivering Innovation for Wearable Drug Delivery
Sorrel Medical’s wearable drug delivery platform not only makes taking medications simple and easy but also provides a key tool in revolutionising inpatient and outpatient care.
Sorrel Medical develops and manufactures innovative solutions for the subcutaneous delivery of large molecule drugs. These fully connected, pre-filled and pre-loaded wearable devices enable patients living with chronic and high burden conditions to self-administer medication safely and efficiently without interrupting their daily lives.
“The patient receives something that resembles a large band-aid. As the device arrives already loaded with medication, the only thing they need to do is remove the liner and attach it to the body,” explains Andrei Yosef, PhD, CEO of Sorrel Medical. “Everything else is automated, controlled and digitised, releasing medication to the patient subcutaneously through a reliable electro-mechanical pumping mechanism, without them having to worry about the treatment they are getting.”
Sorrel Medical’s delivery system provides two key selling points, first to the patient, and secondly to pharmaceutical companies looking for a delivery system.
“The unique selling point of the device is built on two layers. The first layer is the end customer, the patient, and I must honestly say that I start and finish the day thinking about the patient,” Yosef tells us. “Today, in order to receive medications, patients have to go to hospitals (often involving a lengthy car journey), park and then wait in line. If they’re an oncology patient they have to stay in the hospital, which is the last place you want to be with a weakened immune system, even before the COVID pandemic. So, we are telling patients that the whole concept of the hospital as ‘a home for sick people’ is going to change. Their home will be their home – when they are healthy and when they’re sick. The same quality of care will be given at home, delivered with the same safety and even more comfort.”
As well as the end-user, Sorrel’s products provide a boon to the pharmaceutical industry.
“Pharma companies naturally want what is best for their patients, so they fully agree with the first selling points. However, for them, the priority is not only for the device to be easy to use, but also to ensure they are not required to make costly and time-consuming changes to their drug products in order to bring them to market,” Yosef explains. “Because our devices are primary container agnostic, we can take a drug in its primary container – either a cartridge or a vial – and build our device around it. Pharma companies won’t have to resubmit to any regulatory body or change their manufacturing line. That’s a big selling point for them.”
These selling points are built on two key foundations.
“The first is innovation. We have a lot of IP and innovative solutions inside the device. These include multiple smart sensors, as well as a series of internal system checks and indicators to guarantee successful self-administration,” Yosef says. “The second one comes from what we call the ‘human factor’, a design suited for patients to enable them to have treatment in the comfort of their own home.”
The Changing Face of Medicine
The advantages of Sorrel’s drug delivery devices are easy to see, but for Yosef, they are also symptomatic of a wider sea change in the field of medicine.
“We see that the medical field is going to change. There are modifications, changes, evolutions, and indeed, revolutions going on in the space,” Yosef says. “We are already seeing patient treatment move from the hospital to the comfort of the patient’s home. Relying on hospitals and day care units to help with these kinds of patients will soon be a thing of the past.”
If anyone remains unconvinced by Yosef’s argument, they need only look at the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We saw the switch to home care accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, all around the globe but especially in western countries,” Yosef says. “Those patients that normally need to go to the hospital can instead sit at home to receive their treatments. This mandates that drug and device manufacturers bring solutions to the patient that are easy to use and can be managed without the presence of a caregiver or healthcare provider.”
The shift towards home care is simultaneously driving and being driven by the other big change in the healthcare sector.
“The next big thing that’s going to happen is digital health. We’re currently seeing companies realising the benefits of harnessing big data around patients, medications, and hospitals,” Yosef says. “One of the key issues with patients who want treatment at home is how we will track their treatment to maintain their adherence. The advent of the digital health era – from fitness trackers and smartwatches to specific apps and medical devices – has been game-changing. Our wearable devices, fully connected via both Bluetooth and near-field communication (NFC), enable the real-time sharing of patient data with healthcare providers. We can show the patient, the pharma company and the caregiver how well the patient is coping with the device and understand how they feel when it’s working.”
This evolution in healthcare is not just about applying the latest technology, but thinking about how carers and patients interact with it.
“Even small things like giving the patient a thumbs up when they finish an injection go a long way,” Yosef says. “The way we treat patients is constantly improving thanks to the availability of the vast amount of digital data that we are now able to collect, organise and analyse in order to provide actionable insights.”
Preparing for the Next Pandemic
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a widespread reassessment of the way the healthcare sector works.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has not made life easier for anyone. It had a huge effect on the global market, people are sick, people lost their jobs, whole industries were closed down. This pandemic is tragic,” Yosef says. “But we need to look at how we will come out of the crisis. This came as a warning that we need to be ready for the next pandemic. Being ready means ensuring that healthcare providers can continue to treat patients without them having to risk entering potentially contaminated environments.”
The factors COVID-19 has been driving are the same ones that Sorrel has already been pushing for.
“In my country, you don’t really go to the doctor, you set up a video meeting. You have tools to measure temperature and blood pressure, and you can digitally send those readings to the care teams,” Yosef says. “Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, for Sorrel as a company this period has resulted in some very tangible opportunities. We are experiencing unprecedented interest in our solution and no longer need to explain why treatment at home is important or why digital health is the future – the benefits are now obvious – and so it is speeding up the processes. Obviously, we’re not happy with the pandemic, but we understand how the changes that will come from it will help to improve healthcare for all of us.”
Indeed, with Sorrel Medical growing rapidly, the company is well placed to help usher in the next stage of healthcare.
“When we look to the future, we expect to continue growing at a very fast pace, partnering with increasingly more pharmaceutical companies to deliver combination drug delivery solutions to patients,” Yosef says. “We see ourselves playing an important part of the lives of patients by improving the market and thus the delivery of care. Headquartered in Netanya, Israel, Sorrel operates under the Eitan Group, providing both hospital and home-based drug delivery solutions across the continuum of care. The entire group is growing because of the improved care we can provide through connectivity and user-friendly devices.”