What's the Latest Development?

Pharmaceutical companies are working to develop personalized medicine—treatments tailored to smaller groups of people, even single individuals—but because most of the treatments cannot be taken orally, suitable delivery systems are under development. After a $40 million investment, the company Unilife has created the first reliable and sterile syringe for personalized medicine: "The development of the Unifill syringe serves as a model of how the next wave of drug delivery devices will be brought to market. ... Sanofi-aventis came to Unilife with a challenge: To integrate safety features into the glass barrel of a prefilled syringe, something that most people thought impossible..."

What's the Big Idea?

The medical industry hopes that the development of personalized medicine will be more effective at treating patients and open up a new industry, on both the drug and delivery side. As defined by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology: "'Personalized Medicine' refers to the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient, to classify individuals into subpopulations that differ in their susceptibility to a particular disease or their response to a specific treatment. Preventative or therapeutic interventions can then be concentrated on those who will benefit, sparing expense and side effects for those who will not."