Immunity Project

Model Airplanes, Ink Jet Printers & Inhalable Vaccines

Return to blog home | Posted in: Blog on Mar 10, 2014 by Reid Rubsamen

Special guest blog post from our team member Peter Lloyd, inhalable drug delivery expert:

My dad’s a mechanical engineer and I guess that’s part of the reason I’ve been fascinated by machines all of my life.  I especially like machines that fly – I’ve been building a spruce airplane in my garage for the past six years!

I went to college at the UC system (Berkeley and UC Davis).  Pretty much right after I graduated, I was one of the first engineers hired by Aradigm Corporation that Reid co-founded in 1991.  I spent ten years there building small, microprocessor controlled inhalers for delivering insulin and other drugs that folks usually had to inject.  We quickly became a crossover act, borrowing technology from the biotech/drug space and the ink jet printer space.  We actually went to IBM and licensed their technology for micromachining micron sized holes in polyimide plastic to make our single-dose disposable dosage form.   You can see a video of the disposable inside our microprocessor-controlled inhaler on this link:

We learned a lot about how to make and measure micron sized spheres containing pharmaceuticals.  We are doing the same thing now at Immunity Project – this time we’re making and packaging the spheres up front for delivery later instead of making them “on the fly” at the time of delivery.  We are all looking forward to using our drug delivery experience to make a nasal-inhalable form of the Immunity Project HIV vaccine.