Smart Ingestibles: The Coming Revolution in Drug Delivery and Monitoring

By Jordan Hirsch - April 20, 2021

ORAL CAPSULES AND TABLETS HAVE LARGELY REMAINED UNCHANGED SINCE THEIR INCEPTION IN THE MIDDLE 1800s. In the nearly two centuries since, medical therapies have become complex to include not only traditional pharmaceuticals, but also biologics and other complex molecules. Unfortunately, advancements in oral drug delivery technology has not kept pace with the medicine itself.

To maximize a medication's effectiveness and minimize side effects, it needs to be targeted: administered at the right location and at the right time. Modern enteric-coated capsules have advanced oral drug delivery by enabling drugs to dissolve after they have bypassed the acidic stomach environment, yet even these capsules offer no indication of whether or not the drug was successfully released at the target location. Today, SmartTab is changing that.

Wireless Technology Meets Drug Delivery

Smart ingestibles take advantage of decades of developments in microprocessing technology to take a targeted approach to oral medication. Putting a chip inside a pill enables that pill to sense and monitor its precise location inside the GI tract so it can release medication where and when it needs to maximize effectiveness and minimize side effects. It also enables the pill to perform certain actions, like actuating a needle to administer drugs through the intestinal wall. The pill’s sensing technology can also be used to monitor and quantify the condition and disease state of various parts of the GI tract.

Through a number of products currently at various stages of clinical trials and FDA approvals, SmartTab is at the forefront of this smart ingestible revolution. Their TargetTab™ will offer hyper targeted drug delivery, while their InjectTab™ will enable injection of biologics directly into specific intestinal tissues. The company is working towards a day where every tablet and capsule will be a smart monitoring and drug delivery system, and are on a real path to bringing it to market.

The company is developing solutions that will soon be treating patients with a wide array of conditions in ways current treatments simply cannot. Their TargetTab™ and InjectTab™ will not only allow for the optimization and repurposing of existing drugs for novel indications, but the newfound accuracy that their solutions offer will also usher in a new era of drug research and development, opening up countless possibilities for new oral therapies.

Advancing Novel Therapies for Crohn’s Disease

Looking at some of the ways current oral therapies are failing or are even non-existent because of limitations in existing oral drug delivery solutions, it’s easy to understand the value and reach of SmartTab’s technology. Today there are nearly a million Americans living with Crohn’s Disease - a chronic inflammatory condition of the GI tract - yet no sustainable oral therapies exist to put and keep patients in remission. Crohn’s patients often must go through painful infusions or self-injections with biologics to do so.

InjectTab™ will initially serve these patients by conveniently and painlessly delivering these same biologics orally, eliminating painful injections from their routine and dramatically improving their quality of life. The technology will also be used to deliver insulin to diabetes patients from within their gut instead of through the skin, offering improved therapies to the nearly 1 in 10 Americans suffering from the condition. Crohn’s and diabetes are only the beginning.

With their smart ingestible technology, SmartTab is setting a new standard for oral drug delivery and monitoring. Their highly accurate capsules will enable a previously impossible level of precision in oral-based medicine, will open the doors for new and improved medications moving forward, and will ultimately improve quality of life for millions worldwide.

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