Drug Delivery | Industry Spotlights & Insight Articles

Novel Delivery Systems: Oral Films for Patient-Centric Care

The team is now working on commercializing the technology through their start-up PharLyfe+.

One of the goals of creating novel drug delivery systems is to reduce the discomfort that patients experience with traditional delivery methods. The discomfort that comes with swallowing pills, taking injections, or rectal suppositories can decrease patient compliance to their medicine regimen.

For young children, people with phobias, or elderly patients, method of drug delivery can especially affect quality of life when dosing is regular. A research team from the University of Singapore (NUS) has developed an oral drug delivery method to aid in this problem.


The method of administration is pretty simple: the patient places the film on the inside of their cheek. Then, the inner lining of the mouth, called the mucosal membrane, absorbs the drugs where they enter the bloodstream. Furthermore, the absorption of the drug can be controlled over a set period of time depending on the dosing of the medication.

Not only are the films easy to use, they also reduce the risk of choking, rejection, and dosing errors. Associate Professor Chan Sui Yung, an Honorary Fellow in the NUS Department of Pharmacy, leads the project.

Chan said: “Our oral film marks a significant milestone in patient-centric and personalized medicine, offering a safer and eco-friendly alternative to traditional drug delivery methods. The film is very easy to use, so patients are empowered with dignity and independence in managing their treatment from the comfort of their homes.”

A spin out of NUS, PharLyfe+, is now working on commercialising the technology. The commercialisation project was set up by Chan in the role of Technical Lead and her two students: Tan Poh Leng, undertaking Business Lead and Chua Qi Shan, as Clinical Lead. PharLyfe+ is supported by NUS’s Graduate Research Innovation Program (GRIP).

Novel Delivery Systems: The Future, Indications, and Commercialisation

The project is currently applying the technology to medications for patients suffering from end-of-life delirium and anxiety. Injections can often be painful during end-of-life care, so the invention of delivery methods that help to keep injections to a minimum is an admirable mission.

“We hope that our solution can help improve the quality of care for these patients,” said Chua Qi Shan, Clinical Lead at PharLyfe+.

Also on the cards for the use of the technology are everyday medicines, antidotes, and veterinary therapies.

The team have now filed for a provisional patent and are preparing for regulatory filing in the USA and Singapore. They plan to sell the film to hospitals and other healthcare institutions for clinicians to prepare for patients. They have partnered with HCA Hospice Care for the initial launch.

“We look forward to collaborating with healthcare providers to develop and apply the oral films to improve patient care and treatment outcomes,” added Chan.

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