Anaphylaxis Medication Harnesses Tech Innovations

Published Online: Monday, March 18, 2013
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Auvi-Q integrates technology innovations to provide audio and visual cues when administering treatment for life-threatening allergic reactions.

Released by Sanofi, the injector became available in pharmacies nationwide on January 28, 2013. According to Sanofi’s press release, it is the first epinephrine auto injector with audio and visual cues on administering the medicine.

The features also include a 5-second injection countdown and an alert light to signal that the injection is complete, Sanofi’s press release states. It also includes a retractable needle to avoid accidental needle sticks. The device is roughly the size and shape of a credit card and as thick as a smartphone, and includes a non-active training device.

A February 1, 2013, article appearing in The New York Times cited the experiences of inventors Eric and Evan Edwards, twins who grew up with serious food allergies, as key to Auvi-Q’s features. The brothers’ experiences with traditional felt-tip marker–shaped injectors and their tendency to forget the devices shaped their decision to reevaluate the life-saving medication’s design—and make it more appealing to a gadget-oriented generation, The New York Times states.

The twins’ company, Intelliject, Inc, has a $230-million licensing deal with Sanofi for the injector.

“This wasn’t just an invention,” Evan Edwards told The New York Times. “This was something that I knew I was going to carry with me every single day.

“Anaphylaxis is scary enough,” he said later in the article. “But the treatment shouldn’t be.”

Although the Evans brothers began creating the product 15 years ago, several of Auvi-Q’s features were made during the development process, such as the automated instructions—which were made to help caregivers administer the medication if they were too panicked to read written instructions. The retractable needle was added to avoid patient discomfort about an open needle, The New York Times states.

Despite its technology innovations, Auvi-Q’s success depends on its ability to challenge Mylan Inc’s EpiPen, the leading anaphylaxis management device. Historically, competing products have been unable to unseat the medication, with 2 competing products halting production in 2012.

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