Diabetes care has seen several innovations through the years. One of the important developments is insulin pumps, which for many patients provides an option to the traditional needle and syringe approach to insulin injections. Design and function of these devices has significantly improved since the introduction of the first insulin pump in the 1960’s. Technological advances have led to computerized state-of-the-art devices entering the market. In addition to software development, companies are also focusing on device hardware that is smaller, lighter and made from specialized polymers that provide the necessary properties to ensure a safe and functional product. Manufacturers face increased pressure to develop next generation devices quickly to remain competitive, while seeking ways to enhance their design capabilities.
High performance polymers have enabled companies to go beyond the functionality of ordinary plastic materials to develop innovative means for treating diabetic patients. TOPAS® Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC), a glass-clear plastic resin, is currently used in numerous healthcare applications and has become one of the materials of choice in insulin delivery systems. Physical properties of COC such as high strength, dimensional stability and the ability to replicate fine features are important advantages as parts become smaller and thinner. In addition, COC provides insulin compatibility, high purity, and a favorable extractables/leachables profile which is key as expanding FDA guidelines present additional challenges for device design and approval.
In developing new and advanced insulin delivery devices, COC’s unique advantages have expanded the possibilities for innovative design and manufacturing. This medical grade polymer allows for the miniaturization of device components without the constraints of glass or ordinary plastic materials. With the capabilities TOPAS® COC provides, designers can now expand design performance and possibilities. Fine detail replication resulting from the material’s high flow and excellent dimensional stability properties position COC as an excellent material for lightweight and compact precision delivery devices.
Critical device components such as insulin reservoirs require the use of a proven polymer material. In addition to compatibility with insulin, purity and very low leachables, COC provides excellent moisture barrier and extremely low water absorption; both necessary properties for optimal long-term drug container storage. TOPAS® COC has been used in wearable drug delivery worldwide for over ten years in numerous insulin devices, where it remains the leading material for these applications. It features broad global regulatory compliance including USP Class VI and ISO 10993. COC is compatible with all conventional sterilization methods from gamma to steam.
In future insulin delivery systems, the use of plastic components for various parts of the device will continue to rise. With the myriad advantages engineering polymers offer for design innovation and performance, TOPAS® COC will continue to be the material of choice for insulin delivery applications.