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3M Creates Drug Delivery Division

3M Creates Drug Delivery Division

3M (St. Paul, MN) has announced the creation of a new division dedicated to the drug delivery market. 3M Drug Delivery Systems Div. (St. Paul, MN) was launched recently to supply inhalation, transdermal, and transmucosal technology to the global pharmaceutical market. The division provides both systems development and components for metered dose inhalers and transdermal patches. In addition to supplying valves and canisters for metered dose inhalers (MDIs), the business unit offers contract filling and packaging services that can be used to produce market-ready products.

Ed Erickson, who heads 3M Drug Delivery Systems as vice president, explains that the division was formed from the company's larger pharmaceutical division, in recognition of its significant and unrealized potential for growth as an individual business. "We have always been one of the largest suppliers of drug delivery technology in the world," he says, "and the creation of 3M Drug Delivery Systems will afford us more autonomy and the opportunity to grow on our own merits." Describing the field of transmucosal drug delivery as "embryonic," Erickson suggests that the division's expansion plans will be focused in this area and indicates that the company is considering acquisitions.

In the past, 3M's drug delivery business has focused its energies in the inhalation and transdermal markets. According to Erickson, the creation of a dedicated division will allow the company to explore alternative drug delivery technologies and to venture outside its traditional activities.

One sector of activity for the new 3M business unit may include partnerships with manufacturers to develop device-based technologies for drug delivery.

Erickson also highlights the growing significance of drug delivery technology in the pharmaceutical sector, predicting that as more compounds are discovered in vitro using mechanism-based assays, innovative technologies will be called on to transport them to their active sites. "I think we'll see more synthetic molecules that have desirable clinical effects but need to be delivered through alternate routes," he says. Although the core activities of 3M Drug Delivery Systems will be concentrated on the pharmaceutical sector, Erickson notes that the division is also considering partnerships with manufacturers to develop device-based technologies for drug delivery.—Benjamin Lichtman

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