1. What is the innovation?
The Inhaled Oxytocin Project is bringing a gold standard postpartum haemorrhage (PPH) prevention for women in low resource countries. It is a novel, heat stable and simple to use inhaled delivery system of oxytocin, led by Dr Michelle McIntosh at Monash University.
2. What benefits does the innovation bring?
The innovation offers a life-saving medication to women in resource-poor settings of the world, that is uniquely suited to their environment. Every year over 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth with the leading cause being PPH, a condition of excessive blood loss after childbirth. The condition can be effectively prevented or treated with an injection of oxytocin but access to the drug is limited due to the need for refrigeration, storage and trained medical personnel for administration.
3. What commercial success and/or benefit to society has it achieved?
A prototype dry-powder formulation has been developed that requires no refrigeration and can be administered using an affordable and easy to operate inhaler. Initial clinical trials have shown positive results and further trials are ongoing, while a commercial manufacturing capability is being established. Inhaled oxytocin was independently nominated as one of the 30 most important innovations in global health (www.ic2030.org).
4. What lessons learnt can you share?
It is important to intimately understand your target market and end user. Developing a product for use in low and middle income countries is fraught with difficulties unless efforts are made as early as possible in the process, to visit target countries and understand not just the technical requirements, but the social, cultural, political and regulatory environment that will impact on the success of the product.
5. How many new jobs has this innovation created?