Chemical Engineering Team to Commercialize Microchip for Drug Delivery

Pills and injections may soon be pushed to the side if the MIT chemical engineering team of Michael Cima and Robert Langer have their way. According to an article released yesterday by MIT, the two have created an implantable microchip-based device that is on a track for commercialization. The device was created to provide up to 16 years of treatment for conditions including diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis and works wirelessly. 

The impact of this new device could be far-reaching, both medically and economically. According to a 2012 report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, it is estimated that Americans who don’t stick to prescriptions rack up $100 billion to $289 billion annually in unnecessary health care costs from additional hospital visits and other issues. Furthermore, the study found that failure to follow prescriptions causes around 125,000 deaths annually and up to 10 percent of all hospitalizations.

While a prototype device was unveiled earlier this year in the journal Nature, the big news now is that the creators have signed a deal to co-produce microchips with Teva Pharmaceutical, so that the technology can move towards commercialization. The company behind the prototype device, Microchips Biotech, was founded in 1999 by Langer, Cima, and then-graduate student John Santini PhD ’99. You can read more about the details of this new device and the story behind its creation in the original report from MIT.