Changing the way medicine is administered
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Peterborough, ON, Canada
Lance Anderson / My Kawartha
Published on Dec 11, 2014
Collaboration with our partners spells success. Shown above are (left to right) Murad Younis of Westmount Pharmacy, Dick Crawford of PKA SoftTouch and Don Barnet of Steelworks Design.
News for the PKA Micro-Needle
For many people, getting a needle is unpleasant at best,
but that could soon be a thing of the past.
PKA SoftTouch has spent almost a decade developing a painless Micro-Needle.
And as Renee Rodgers reports, it’s on the verge of hitting the marketplace.
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Peterborough, ON, Canada / (CHEXTV)
December 09, 2014 09:00 am
Chamber News with Sandra Dueck
Chex TV - Peterborough interviews Chairman and CEO Dick Crawford about the PKA Micro-Needle
January 13, 2014
Hot off the Press for PKA SoftTouch
Press Release - December 2014
Three-way partnership out of Peterborough, ON
sets stage for radical change in injection drug delivery for patients worldwide
Peterborough, ON --A partnership of three Peterborough Ontario-based companies is set to start production of its final generation of a unique patented micro-needle drug delivery system, using state-of-the-art equipment unavailable anywhere else in the world.
“The partnership of PKA SoftTouch, Steelworks Design and Westmount Pharmacy signifies a huge leap forward to actual profitability,” says Dick Crawford, PKA Chair of the Board and CEO, as he announced the long-awaited initiation of the micro-needle’s production capability.
PKA’s small and inexpensive Micro-Needle is a unique device that lets patients inject only into the skin layers where there are no nerves and no pain. The company began research in October 2005 to design and develop a cost-effective, painless, minimally invasive medical device technology for the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes.
Steelworks Design engineers have worked tirelessly in partnership with PKA SoftTouch to develop and construct the micro needle’s drug capsule (bubble) production equipment, now installed and ready for use in Westmount Pharmacy’s unique sterile facility.
“This is the longest standing project our company has ever had, and it’s not the kind of project we get to do every day,” says Don Barnet, Steelworks president. “It’s great to see the micro needle get some real traction and take off the way we thought it always would.”
He adds, “You really feel like you are part of something special, developed right here in Peterborough. If it takes off and goes to market in a big way we hope to build a factory around the device. This means a huge project for us and a big win for Peterborough, and I really do think this can happen.”
Steelworks Design is a full-service Engineering firm located in Peterborough, specializing in machine design, research and development, product design, process improvements, and design/build of production automation and custom lifting devices.
The third partner, Murad Younis, owns the award-winning compounding pharmacy Westmount Pharmacy and has built a sterile facility on his premises where first production runs are set to begin.
“I am very proud to be part of this kind of passionate healthcare related program, and to have our experience and resources available,” he says.
“Production of the micro-needle in our specialized sterile facility in our Banting Legacy Hall marks a big step in offering patients in Ontario and beyond a good alternative to traditional medication injections.”
Younis notes that many new drugs now under development by pharmaceutical development interests, which will address immunity and genetics, cannot be administered by mouth.
“The new drugs coming down the pipeline are a perfect fit with this technology.”
“We’ve completed our test runs on the equipment and are ready to begin production,” says Crawford.
“This new generation of micro-needle device eliminates the need to depress the skin while injecting medication. It can now suit many sizes of fingers, from those of a truck driver to an 11 year old child’s,” Crawford notes.
While insulin trials using the device are expected in about six months, the device’s first production run of the prototype device will be for TB test serum. This production run, says Crawford, will demonstrate PKA’s ability to meet Health Canada standards.
“We have to manufacture the device in a sterile atmosphere so that the liquid contained in the bubble and the needle that penetrates the skin are sterile.”
To date, PKA’s research and development has been financed by CFDC grants and private local investors who believe in the company’s vision.
Press Release - June 2014
ANGELS STEPPING UP IN CANADA TO FUND MEDICAL INNOVATION STARTUPS
Cash-Hungry Life Science Start-ups Look Away from Traditional Venture Capital Funding
By Jane Davidson
Freelance bioscience writer, Best Write Communications
PETERBOROUGH, ON – 09/06/2014 Hungry for funding, fledging life sciences start-ups are turning to angel investors in Canada more than ever before, as traditional venture capitalists shift their attention and cash away to previously-funded enterprises situated further along the development pipeline.
Savvy life sciences start-ups, says Martin Yuill, executive director at the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster, located at Trent University in Peterborough, ON, are finding ways to get in front of new-style investors in a refreshed funding landscape.
According to Industry Canada, life science companies are “small and medium-sized companies developing diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, as well as global companies with research, development and manufacturing operations in Canada, serving both domestic and international markets.”
Angel investors are groups of high net worth individuals who are looking for investment opportunities. In 2013 angels invested $89 million into start-up companies across Canada, says Yuill, and $21 million of that went into life sciences concerns. He notes that angel investment in Canada is taking off: in 2013, overall angel investment was up 120 per cent over 2012. The median angel investment in life science start-ups was $1.1 million, Yuill adds.
One Canadian life sciences company whose leading light took the time to learn about the new funding eco-system is PKA SoftTouch of Lakefield, ON. The company is looking for $2 million over the next two years for its unique globally patented micro-needle, a device that painlessly injects medication just beneath the skin's surface and has revolutionary implications for replacing the traditional syringe in a wide range of medical applications.
Recently, Dick Crawford, PKA Chairman and CEO, and an Innovation Cluster client, grabbed a spot negotiated at a discount by Yuill for local life science companies at the Life Sciences Nation conference, Redefining Early Stage Investments (RESI) in Boston.
Crawford said his attendance at the conference was perfectly timed for the micro-needle’s next stage of development. “I came away from the conference energized, with ten different ways to raise money – angels among them,” he says.
Crawford says he was also drawn to “family office” and private high net-worth investors, entities still new to Canada but increasingly popular in the United States. Philanthropic investment is increasing in the U.S. as wealthy families search out solutions to illnesses and chronic health conditions that may be present in their own families, and this trend is expected to spread to Canada. Crawford says it’s important to consider some of the new funding options available.
Other players in the start-up landscape, Crawford learned, include large pharmaceutical and biotech company investment arms, foundations, advocacy and non-profit investment groups (sometimes dubbed venture philanthropy.)
Canadians investors follow U.S. trends more slowly, says Yuill. In the U.S., venture capitalists are fleeing start-ups in droves because of a changing regulatory climate, leaving the “family office firms”, angel investor groups and foundations to fill the void.
“I encourage start-ups to focus, as Dick Crawford has, on the big picture as much as they can,” he says.
January 7, 2014 PETERBOROUGH, ON
New patents open up local company to worldwide healthcare market
CEO labels the US and EU patents “huge” for the company’s future prospects
With the recent issue of US and European Union (EU) patents, a Peterborough area developer of breakthrough drug delivery technology has made a giant leap forward in its quest to become a moneymaking venture.
“In the wake of a huge spike in the deadly influenza virus H1N1, the news has special significance for our newly-patented Micro-needle," says Dick Crawford, Chairman and CEO, PKA SoftTouch Corp.
“Patent rights are important for us,” Mr. Crawford said. “They give our licensees a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
FluWatch, Canada’s national surveillance system monitoring the spread of flu, reports that influenza activity continued to increase sharply in December.
In Ontario, six people are believed to have died from H1N1 influenza and three have died in Saskatchewan. Alberta reported 965 lab-confirmed cases in that province, with 251 hospitalizations and ten deaths. Experts say that in recent years people have become complacent about the flu and neglected to get annual shots, leaving themselves unprotected.
“The Micro-needle is the ideal device to deliver the flu vaccines to children and adults, because of its pain-free delivery system,” says Mr. Crawford. A selling point of the device, Mr. Crawford notes, is its versatility: it can be used to deliver pain medications, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, insulin and vaccines.
The two recently issued patents build on those currently in force in Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Africa, and make PKA SoftTouch’s technology attractive to potential drug manufacturers who want exclusive use of the Micro-needle technology for a particular drug or vaccine. PKA plans to pursue licensing deals in 15 European countries and is already negotiating with two US-based drug manufacturers.
“This really builds our credibility worldwide,” says Mr. Crawford. “Every time we talk to a potential licensee we are asked if we have patent protection. Now we can say yes, absolutely.”
One potential licensee hopes to use the device in the growing home healthcare market, Mr. Crawford says. According to a recent study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc. (GIA) the US, with its aging population, increased life expectancy, and healthcare reforms, represents the single largest market for home health care. The report says there is a sharp increase in demand for technology-based healthcare products to service the sector.
Licensing the technology for just one company will attract others, creating a snowball effect, Mr. Crawford predicts. “People will see reduced risk and a huge market potential will open up.”
To secure the patents, PKA SoftTouch used the services of James Gastle of Lakefield-based Gastle and Associates. Gastle has a 25-year history and over that period has represented over 550 clients in a range of fields.
“Every time we talk to a potential licensee we are asked if we have patent protection. Now we can say yes, absolutely.”
PETERBOROUGH, ON – SEPTEMBER 9, 2013
PKA SoftTouch wins coveted spot on Canadian mission
Local company positioning to showcase R & D efforts in worldwide marketplace to leading partners, investors
PKA SoftTouch Corp., a Lakefield, ON-based research and development business, is among a small group of Canadian companies recently chosen by the Canadian government to participate in North America’s leading annual medical device technology conference in Washington, D.C.
PKA SoftTouch Corp. www.pkasofttouch.com competed for, and won, a coveted spot among a mission of twenty Canadian companies--six from Ontario--to attend the upcoming AdvaMed 2013 conference, advamed2013.com in Washington Sept. 23 to 25. The federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade partnered with AdvaMed 2013 organizers to offer a value-added package to early stage medical device and diagnostic companies.
“Participation in the conference will take our Micro-Needle to a new level within the worldwide medical device marketplace,” said Dick Crawford, CEO. “The beauty of the Micro-Needle is its safer and simpler drug injection technology. At the conference, we’ll have the opportunity to showcase how the Micro-Needle meets the growing need for patients everywhere to self-administer drugs in a painless, safe and cost-effective manner. "
Joe Miller, commercialization officer, Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster (GPIC) agreed that PKA’s presence at the Washington conference is a significant step forward for the start-up company. “The Innovation Cluster is happy to see that PKA is getting the international recognition needed to moved its device to market,” Mr. Miller said. “The device has interesting applications for the preventative, therapeutic and diagnostic markets.”
(Peterborough’s Innovation Cluster has arranged partnerships between PKA SoftTouch, Trent University and Fleming College, and showcased the Micro-Needle technology at Peterborough Day 2013 at Queen’s Park and at Peterborough’s Prosperity Trade Show, 2013.)
"AdvaMed 2013 is the premier annual North American conference for breakthrough medical device technology companies to showcase their developments to a world class audience. PKA SoftTouch definitely deserves to be one of the handful of Canadian companies chosen to attend this year's event,” said Dan Wasserman, executive in residence, VentureLAB, Markham, ON (Venturelab.ca). Mr. Wasserman assists PKA SoftTouch in the company’s commercialization planning initiatives.
VentureLAB is York Region partner in the government-funded Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs. Its mandate is to help entrepreneurial companies such as PKA SoftTouch move through the preliminary stages leading up to commercialization.
The AdvaMed conference brings over 1,000 companies together for business development, specialized seminars, panel discussions, innovative technology showcasing and networking opportunities. According to its website, AdvaMed is the world’s largest medical technology association, providing information and advocacy on behalf of the industry’s continuing innovations in healthcare technology.
Among this year’s conference highlights are plenary speakers Senator Orrin Hatch, administrator Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, former FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, and Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
As a member of the Canadian group, PKA received discounted fees, a seat at an “Entrepreneurs Boot Camp,” and attendance at a special post-conference session with a number of government agencies on international trade and networking.
The Peterborough Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) supplied additional funds to support PKA’s attendance at the conference. PKA SoftTouch Corp. created the unique, revolutionary PKA Micro-Needle in 2005 to replace the common syringe in drug applications for the pharmaceutical, health care and veterinary industries.
August 21, 2012 - By Sarah Frank
A Lakefield company is looking to introduce a new needle to make drug injections painless.
The microneedle, developed at the Lakefield-based company PKA SoftTouch Corp., has a thin, hair-like needle, which only penetrates one or two millimetres of skin.
Dick Crawford, founder and CEO of the company, says the needle doesn't touch nerve endings and doesn't cause the patient any pain. After its use, the needle retracts.
"It's like an advanced form of a syringe," he says of the product that's been in the works since 2005. "We're the only (company) in the world that's doing it...no one else has been able to achieve going into the skin only."
The entire product is about the size of a wine cork.
A clinch on the bottom of the device lets administrators know when to stop pushing, says Mr. Crawford.
Initially, Mr. Crawford and co-founder Dr. Pankaj Modi, plan to focus on insulin delivery, the largest injectable drug market in the world.
In the fall, the microneedle will go through clinical trials in India, which is hoped to lead to large-scale trials in the U.S., and eventually, approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. Crawford says the company is expecting the microneedle to hit the market in two years or less.
Currently, the microneedles are manufactured in two Peterborough pharmacies. If the product takes off, PKA SoftTouch could become a major employer in the area.
"We are estimating we will need to produce 14,000 devices per day," says Mr. Crawford, adding they'll need more than 300 workers.
Half of the positions will require highly-skilled workers in the healthcare field.
The company will need to sell a license for the patented technology to a pharmaceutical insulin manufacturer. According to Mr. Crawford, the resulting front-end funding and royalties will allow the company to complete U.S. trials and establish a manufacturing facility in the area.
"This is a great step forward," he says.
"We are estimating we will need to produce 14,000 devices per day and will need more than 300 high skilled personal to work in a sterile plant in Peterborough."
August 17, 2012, PETERBOROUGH, ON
GAME CHANGING TECHNOLOGY LEAPS FORWARD
An innovative painless drug delivery device created in the Peterborough area is poised to move to final stages of development.
Once at the manufacturing stage, PKA SoftTouch could become a major employer for highly skilled workers in the healthcare field, with projected first year sales of $25 million and employing up to 350 people plus multiple economic spin-off opportunities.
Speaking at a special presentation recently in Peterborough, Dick Crawford, founder and CEO of Lakefield, Ont.-based PKA SoftTouch Corp. gave an update on the development of the PKA SoftTouch microneedle that kept the group glued to their seats for over two hours.
Crawford checked off an impressive list of milestones already reached by his partnership with inventor and PKA co-founder Dr. Pankaj Modi.
Crawford’s status report includes clinical trials planned in India for the fall of 2012. These trials will pave the way for acceptance of large-scale clinical trials in the United States, leading to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.
He showed the intrigued group a sample of the tiny device, which uses a precisely manufactured, hair-like, thin needle that only penetrates the skin within a depth of 1-2mm.
“The device does not touch nerve endings, and causes no pain,” Crawford said. “It’s also disposable because the tiny needle retracts, and cannot be reused, avoiding contamination.
“Our device will improve the quality of life for patients by providing painless injections of life saving drugs,” Crawford said. “Locally, with our large population of seniors and retirees, we see a real chance to provide them with a pain-free method of drug injection.”
He and Dr. Modi have chosen to focus on insulin delivery initially.
“Insulin is the largest injectable drug market in the world,” Crawford said. “The World Health Organization estimated 177 million diabetes sufferers in 2009 and the market for insulin delivery is currently worth over $ 4 billion globally.”
Crawford outlined the painless efficiency of the drug delivery system. Next steps include selling a license for the patented technology to a pharmaceutical insulin manufacturer.
“This will give us front end funding and royalties resulting in a positive cash flow, allowing us to complete the USFDA clinical trials and establishing a manufacturing facility for the devices in this area.” Crawford said.
“Our device will improve the quality of life for patients by providing painless injections of life saving drugs"
PRESS RELEASE - DECEMBER 2014
PRESS RELEASE - JUNE 2014
JANUARY 7, 2014 - PETERBOROUGH, ON
SEPTEMBER 9, 2013 - PETERBOROUGH, ON
AUGUST 21, 2012 - By Sarah Frank
AUGUST 17, 2012 - PETERBOROUGH, ON
CBC RADIO ONE
August 23, 2012, LAKEFIELD, ON
Radio interview with Jack Roe of CBC's Ontario Morning Show. The discussion included PKA SoftTouch's technology and plans for commercialization. This broadcast was on August 24, 6:45am, on station 98.7FM.
August 22, 2012, PETERBOROUGH, ON
TV interview regarding PKA SoftTouch's painfree injection device for insulin use. This was a French language interview conducted by journalist Frederic Pepin. This aired on the SRC, CBC's Telejournal, on the 6pm news.
August 21, 2012, LAKEFIELD, ON
Radio interview regarding the PKA SoftTouch micro-needle device with Louis Lessard. This was a French language interview detailing our technology. The broadcast was on August 22, 4:35pm, on station 106.3FM.
AWARDS FOR PKA
Recognition Award 2014
The County of Peterborough presented Dick Crawford the 2014 Recognition Award for Business Leadership / Entrepreneurial Innovation for PKA SoftTouch Corp. on May 23, 2014
Entrepreneur Innovation Award 2011
We are proud to receive the East Kawartha Chamber of Commerce Award for Entrepreneur Innovation.
Innovation / Research Development Excellence Award 2010
We were honored to receive the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce Excellence Award for Innovation/Research Development. The PKA micro-needle received accolades from local businesses for its novel drug delivery system allowing painless injections of prescribed pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and antibiotics.
Fundraising efforts continue which will assist us greatly in moving the business forward to the next level and to commercialization. To be a part of this exciting venture, please visit the "Contact Us" page to send us your message.
SAFE, SIMPLE & PAIN FREE
THE PKA MICRO-NEEDLE REPLACES THE SYRINGE WITH A PAINLESS INTERDERMAL DELIVERY SYSTEM