UW Spin-out Impel Neuropharma Named a Top “Innovation in Medical Devices” by Seattle Business Magazine

UW Spin-out Impel Neuropharma, which has developed a unique nasal delivery device that utilizes direct “nose-to-brain” transport to improve drug delivery, was honored with a Silver Award in the category of “Innovation in Medical Devices” at Seattle Business magazine’s fifth celebration of extraordinary achievement in health care.

Impel NeuroPharma’s Pressurized Olfactory Delivery (POD) device delivers aerosolized drugs to the upper nasal cavity where they are directly transported into the brain, effectively bypassing the blood-brain barrier. The POD device enables molecules to become therapeutics that were previously unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, and often allows less drug volume to be utilized, lowering plasma exposure and reducing systemic side effects.

The POD device was developed by John Hoekman, UW PhD in pharmaceutics and chief scientific officer of Impel, while conducting research in neurological drug delivery at the UW. Hoekman saw how the nose-to-brain pathway could improve drug delivery save for one small issue: there were no devices capable of reaching the upper nasal cavity to utilize this pathway. He began working with Dr. Rodney Ho in the UW Department of Pharmaceutics to develop a commercial device that would be cost-effective, disposable and user-friendly.

In June 2012, Impel announced the first successful in-human pilot study of the POD technology. The study showed a 2:1 overall preference for the POD technology over conventional nasal spray devices.

Since 2009, Seattle Business has honored individuals and organizations for making heroic contributions to the well being of people the world over through enormous dedication, groundbreaking research and thoughtful stewardship. The 2013 Leaders in Health Care Awards honor an outstanding class of 25 in fields ranging from medical research and community outreach to health care practitioners and lifetime achievement.