Innovation: Pills that deliver injection-only drugs
Form and function
Genetically engineered drugs known as biologics typically have to be injected rather than swallowed because their complex proteins break down in the stomach. Rani Therapeutics is developing a pill that will protect those proteins.
Rani’s pills will need to win U.S. regulatory approval as both a drug and a medical device, delivering the proper dose of medicine and making sure the tiny balloon passes harmlessly out of the patient’s body. John Yin, professor of chemical and biological engineering at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, says the success of the complex process may also depend somewhat on the natural differences in patients’ intestinal tracts. Imran says he hopes to start human trials next year. ——Michelle Fay Cortez
Innovator Mir Imran Age 59Title Founder of Rani Therapeutics, based in San Jose