€3.8M funding to develop wearable patch for Type 2 Diabetes

€3.8M funding to develop wearable patch for Type 2 Diabetes

EU consortium led from UCD will design medical delivery system to be worn on the cheek to provide alternative to injections. Academic and industry partners in advanced drug and medical device development collaborate

A project to develop a patch worn on the cheek that delivers peptide* treatments for Type 2 Diabetes has been awarded just under €3.8 million by the EU’s Horizon Europe RESILIENCE programme.

The ‘BUCCAL-PEP’ project will combine skills to develop a multifunctional biomaterial patch which allows, for the first time ever, delivery of peptide therapies across the cheek (buccal). Existing patches have already been designed for small molecules but these cannot effectively deliver peptide treatments by this route of administration. Type 2 Diabetes patients need the peptide insulin to treat the disease.

Type 2 Diabetes is the chronic disease of focus for the research because patients tend to prefer non-injected drug administration routes over injections, which improves patient compliance. BUCCAL-PEP has the potential to provide an alternative administration route for peptides other than by injections and oral routes, which could benefit the treatment of other conditions such as pain relief and certain cancers.

Prof David Brayden, Professor of Advanced Drug Delivery at University College Dublin, Fellow of UCD Conway Institute for Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, and Funded Investigator at CÚRAM SFI Research Centre for Medical Devices is the coordinator on the grant. He will lead a consortium of seven partners across Ireland, Denmark, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and the UK, including a large pharmaceutical company, Novo Nordisk (Denmark), several SMEs, and academic partners (listed below).

Prof Brayden said: “I am delighted to be the coordinator on this exciting new grant which combines academic and industry partners across the EU. Patients need alternative routes for large molecule delivery over injections as this has an impact over their willingness to adhere to therapy. Buccal administration has particular challenges and our project will attempt to address these using new patch designs.”

UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, Professor Orla Feely said: “We congratulate Prof David Brayden on bringing together this significant consortium project and securing equally significant EU funding. It is a key goal of Horizon Europe programmes to connect academics, industry and varied stakeholders to produce research, new technologies and outcomes that empower people in ways that truly matter. In this case, the project will support the translation of research into clinical applications that have significant potential to really address the needs of patients living with chronic conditions."

The patch design uses permeation enhancer, (a substance that boosts penetration), along with multiple biomaterials and a peptide cargo, enabling diffusion of the peptide across the mucosal surface of the cheek for effective delivery of the treatment.

Oral delivery of macromolecules including peptides – such as insulin – is one of the great challenges in pharmaceutical research: only five peptide-analogues are administered by tablets or capsules. Low bioavailability, dosage control, and restrictions in use (e.g. undesirable food interactions) remain key challenges. Buccal delivery has the added benefit of avoiding food effects on the absorption of peptides, a common inconvenient problem found with oral peptide administration.

BUCCAL-PEP will enable novel peptide-based treatments to emerge, which otherwise might not have reached the market due to incompatibility with the currently available administration routes. This award recognises the importance of tackling this economic and personal health burden.

Consortium partners include: UCD School of Veterinary Medicine and UCD Conway Institute (Coordinator); Adhex Pharma (Dijon, France); Cambridge Innovation Technologies Consulting Limited (Cambridge UK); Catalyze Innovation Consulting (Amsterdam, The Netherlands); Charite, Berlin Institute of Health (Berlin, Germany); Technical University of Denmark (Copenhagen, Denmark); Novo Nordisk Pharma (Malov, Denmark).

* Peptides are short chains of building blocks within the body. Longer chains are called proteins. Thepeptides described are large delicate potent molecules typically administered by injections, e.g. insulin.
Attached files
  • -.png
Regions: Europe, Ireland, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom
Keywords: Health, Grants & new facilities, Medical, Science, Life Sciences, Business, Medical & pharmaceutical


For well over a decade, in my capacity as a researcher, broadcaster, and producer, I have relied heavily on Alphagalileo.
All of my work trips have been planned around stories that I've found on this site.
The under embargo section allows us to plan ahead and the news releases enable us to find key experts.
Going through the tailored daily updates is the best way to start the day. It's such a critical service for me and many of my colleagues.
Koula Bouloukos, Senior manager, Editorial & Production Underknown
We have used AlphaGalileo since its foundation but frankly we need it more than ever now to ensure our research news is heard across Europe, Asia and North America. As one of the UK’s leading research universities we want to continue to work with other outstanding researchers in Europe. AlphaGalileo helps us to continue to bring our research story to them and the rest of the world.
Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations at the University of Warwick
AlphaGalileo has helped us more than double our reach at SciDev.Net. The service has enabled our journalists around the world to reach the mainstream media with articles about the impact of science on people in low- and middle-income countries, leading to big increases in the number of SciDev.Net articles that have been republished.
Ben Deighton, SciDevNet

We Work Closely With...

  • BBC
  • The Times
  • National Geographic
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • University of Cambridge
Copyright 2022 by AlphaGalileo Terms Of Use Privacy Statement