Multi-unit dose, dry powder inhaler platform

Prohaler

Challenge
Develop a distinctive dry powder inhaler for asthma able to carry 30 individually packaged doses.

Approach
We combined human factors engineering, design, and worked with our client’s marketing and production departments as well as packaging suppliers to ensure smooth development of the inhaler.

Outcome
We created a compact inhaler that can be triggered by breath, with a unique dispersion technology and simple enough to be manufactured in high volume.

Aptar Pharma came to Team because of our considerable experience in inhaler design and development, and our in-depth knowledge of the ‘S2’ powder dispersion technology.

The client wanted help developing an easy-to-use, multi-unit dose DPI for the asthma market which could be licensed to pharmaceutical partners.

The device needed to carry up to 30 individually packaged doses, incorporate the high performance ‘S2’ powder dispersion technology (licensed from Quadrant), and be distinctive from competitor devices in terms of its superior safety, intuitive use and simple functionality.
 
Our approach

We carried out formative usability research to establish a suitably intuitive user interaction concept, with combined visual and tactile feedback indicating correct use.

Preliminary inhalation studies with a range of sub-patient groups and naive users were undertaken to define their inhalation profiles and ergonomic capabilities, using the target range of inhalation resistance.

Working with Aptar Pharma, we created a strong visual language for the device which would support a simple three-step operation – ‘open, breathe-in, close’ (now trademarked by Aptar Pharma as ‘OBIC technology’). The visual language also helped define an aesthetic that would appeal to user groups and could be adaptable for potential pharmaceutical partners’ varying brand requirements.

Team worked extensively with Aptar Pharma’s marketing, research & development and production departments throughout. We also had an ongoing working relationship with the primary packaging materials suppliers and production machine designers to ensure a smooth concurrent development.

Through this process we generated a number of patentable solutions and copyrighted designs for Aptar Pharma. As a result, the Prohaler® is simple, compact, distinctive and manufacturable in high volume.

It harnesses unique and highly efficient powder release and dispersion technologies, such that the majority of powder reaches the user’s lung without risk of double dosing.

It incorporates a unique breath-triggered, dose-opening function and also features an easy-to-read dose-counting system that reassuringly, only advances on closure of the device after correct inhalation.

The green and white version of the Prohaler (pictured above) was created as part of a colour study to explore visual language and brand differentiation.

Multi unit dose dpi inhaler development

Multi unit dose dpi inhaler development

Multi unit dose dpi inhaler development

Multi-unit dose dpi inhaler development

From our client

“The Prohaler® is a marvel of the combined application of human factors engineering and design. Its simple exterior and operation doesn’t provide any clue as to the functionality inside, yet it is naturally intuitive to use for a wide range of asthma and COPD patients. Team did a great job in developing a complete inhaler for us, and we plan to see it entering the market soon via our pharmaceutical partners.”

Pierre Carlotti, VP Marketing & Communication
Aptar Pharma