Per­fect Design: DPI Devices from Iconovo

Iconovo spe­cial­izes in the product devel­op­ment of cus­tomized DPI devices – and uti­lizes an inte­grated approach.

Cross-border net­working as a recipe for suc­cess – the Danish-Swedish Medicon Valley is a prime example. Count­less phar­ma­ceu­tical, med­ical techno­logy and biotech com­pa­nies estab­lished them­selves on both sides of the Öre­sund and ben­efit from their geo­graphic prox­imity and close cooperation.

One of them is Iconovo, a start-up with head­quar­ters in Lund spe­cial­izing in dry powder inhalers (DPI). The com­pany is com­mitted to pro­viding cus­tomers with the optimum com­bi­na­tion of inhala­tion ­device and for­mu­la­tion, and to paving the way for the market launch of their product with a variety of ser­vice offerings.

State of the art

A unique fea­ture of ICOres is that it has two reser­voirs which can be filled with the same dry powder for­mu­la­tions or with dif­ferent for­mu­la­tions. This allows for the simul­ta­neous delivery of up to four dif­ferent active ingredients.

“An effec­tively inhaled drug therapy ­requires a well-designed inhaler and an appro­priate powder for­mu­la­tion. The ­design of the device must be coor­di­nated with the for­mu­la­tion of the drug,” ­explains Dr. Orest Lastow, co-founder, CEO and Head of Research & Devel­op­ment at Iconovo. “Our cus­tomers, which include many generic drug man­u­fac­turers, often do not have the nec­es­sary resources to carry out the lengthy, cost-inten­sive and risky devel­op­ment work in-house. This is where our long-standing expe­ri­ence in inhala­tion, in some instances span­ning sev­eral decades, comes into play.”

Four plat­forms


Lastow and his 14 employees have devel­oped ultra-modern DPI devices that are pre­cisely tai­lored to the for­mu­la­tion to be admin­is­tered and then licensed to cus­tomers. The product port­folio cur­rently com­prises four plat­forms, mainly focusing on drugs for the treat­ment of res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases: ICOcap (cap­sule based), ICOpre (disc based) and ICOone (for single use).

The flag­ship how­ever is ICOres, a reser­voir-based device for mul­tiple appli­ca­tions. “Not only can we pro­vide cus­tomers with device and for­mu­la­tion, but with a total package that includes ana­lyt­ical testing, doc­u­men­ta­tion and, together with proven part­ners, the entire supply chain,” he explains.

Harro Höfliger is also a part of the company’s net­work. When Iconovo was looking for a lab­o­ra­tory device for manual, exact dosing of free-flowing pow­ders into reser­voirs, they did not have to search long. “Sev­eral of my col­leagues and I have a long his­tory with Harro Höfliger, and many of our cus­tomers have selected them as their sup­plier of equip­ment. Harro Höfliger is the first choice in the inhala­tion industry and a guar­antee for high quality,” says Lastow. When devel­oping the dosing prin­ciple, inspi­ra­tion had already struck his team to use a filling tech­nique sim­ilar to loading a rifle with gun­powder. Harro Höfliger con­tinued to develop this idea, as always with a view to a poten­tial scale-up. The result is a table-top unit with a spe­cial micro­meter screw.

Well equipped for the future

ICOres has two reser­voirs, which can be filled with up to two dif­ferent active ingre­dient for­mu­la­tions. A counter accu­rately indi­cates the remaining number of inhala­tion doses. With ICOres, Iconovo feels well posi­tioned for future prod­ucts (NCE). “Today, it is usu­ally two drugs in one inhaler that you inhale at the same time. In the future, there will be three, or maybe four,” says Lastow. Does he see him­self more as a CEO or a sci­en­tist? The answer comes promptly: “I have worked in the inhala­tion field for over 25 years and I think I see myself pri­marily as a product devel­oper. I’m a problem solver, con­stantly trying to find better solutions.”

“An open discussion”

Marco Laack­mann, Director Inhala­tion Tech­nology at Harro Höfliger, in con­ver­sa­tion with Orest Lastow (right).

Why did you spe­cialize in the field of inhalation?

Per­son­ally I started with inhala­tion by acci­dent. I did my PhD in aerosol tech­nology and inhala­tion is an impor­tant appli­ca­tion of that. Iconovo was founded to be an inhala­tion com­pany since myself and many of my col­leagues have worked with the devel­op­ment of inhala­tion prod­ucts for a long time.

You are a member of MVIC (Medicon Valley Inhala­tion Con­sor­tium). How is it sup­porting Iconovo?

I was actu­ally the founder of MVIC and used to be CEO for two years. MVIC is a fan­tastic net­work of 70 experts and com­pa­nies spe­cial­ized in inhala­tion and a partner in many of our cus­tomer projects.

What is the role of Harro Höfliger?

We have a long his­tory and a very good coop­er­a­tion. We have an open dis­cus­sion about all aspects of man­u­fac­turing inhala­tion prod­ucts and about tech­nical solu­tions. Harro Höfliger is very gen­erous with their expe­ri­ence and advice.

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Photos: Pantip/spacezerocom, Harro Höfliger