TRIZ and Next Generation Drug Delivery Systems
Editor | On 27, Nov 1997
Interview with Gernot Mueller, M.D.,
President BioFutures Inc.
Almost half of the venture capital in the U.S.A. is channeled into the life sciences and biomedical engineering systems. Dr. Mueller’s firm, BioFutures Inc. (BFI) has a complete monopoly over a niche service, that all other biomedical product organizations – large or small – need in order to rapidly innovate or field high-level, breakthrough products. BFI’s expertise lies in TRIZ – a problem-solving, creative approach that resolves even the toughest creative design challenges. BFI forms strategic alliances with biomedical and pharmaceutical firms, acting as a catalyst and assisting them in (1) problem-solving and (2) rapidly bringing products to the marketplace. BFI is currently engaged in applying the TRIZ approach to next-generation drug delivery systems.
TRIZ Journal Dr. Mueller, how advanced is the drug delivery industry today?
Mueller Drug delivery systems are only in the infant stage. There are many key problems to be solved, and conflicts to be resolved. The payoffs will be immense for a few companies who make the right discoveries and who field the right products.
TRIZ Journal Then you attribute success in the drug delivery market to luck?
Mueller Luck follows the prepared mind. Drug delivery systems follow definite steps as they evolve. These steps are known by only a few. BFI has carefully organized and elucidated the entire staircase of development for drug delivery systems.
TRIZ Journal What do you mean? What is this ” staircase of development “?
Mueller What comes next in the drug delivery marketplace is not only “predictable”. It is known with a high degree of accuracy. Furthermore, it can be developed now – not in the usual five or ten years that must pass before a next-generation system emerges.
TRIZ Journal Are you implying that today’s major hurdles in drug delivery systems are solvable now?
Mueller Yes. The forecasting and problem-solving approach called TRIZ (Theory of the Solution of Inventive Problems – a Russian acronym) has already been successfully applied to dozens of most difficult and complex problems that American technology has faced. The problems and system challenges encountered in the drug delivery systems are no more difficult than those.
TRIZ Journal Could you give us an example of the types of problems that TRIZ is capable of solving?
Mueller Today it is impossible to introduce certain molecules into and through the skin. Other molecules are introduced only at unacceptable rates. There are problems with the capacity and adhesion of transdermal patches. Inhalant systems are seeking better propelling means, and their overall performance is less reliable than desired. Certain measurement and detection systems are too invasive. There is no shortage of either problems, or opportunities.
TRIZ Journal You said that drug delivery systems were in the “infancy” stage of their development. Yet recently there have been some rather significant developments. For example, the successful application of ultrasound, as a positive influence in molecular transport through tissues, has already been demonstrated. Isn’t this really quite sophisticated?
Mueller The use of ultrasound is indeed a positive step – and one that the TRIZ approach predicts. TRIZ, in fact, goes much further and predicts more precisely those specific circumstances under which ultrasound can be far more successful.
TRIZ Journal What is the potential for your TRIZ approach in the drug delivery business?
Mueller The potential for the drug delivery business is huge. Ordinarily, the interval between the conception of next-generation drug delivery systems is measured in years and even in decades. With TRIZ, next-generation, breakthrough products can be conceived monthly. The pace of their appearance is astounding – so are the levels of their associated breakthrough.
TRIZ Journal Levels?
Mueller New products – new technical systems – differ according to their importance, their scope and their elegance. Roughly 80 percent of all new products are relatively low level inventions. But high level, TRIZ solutions are all of a higher level.
TRIZ Journal You speak of the “evolution” of drug delivery systems. Is this evolution known?
Mueller Drug delivery products evolve according to an “S-curve”. The main performance indices associated with biomedical devices increase over time according to a profile that has the shape of an “S”. The laws according to which these products develop and evolve are known. With knowledge of these laws, designers, developers and researchers can proceed without interference, without experiencing useless trials, and without resorting to that inefficient creative process we call “brainstorming”.
TRIZ Journal Brainstorming – inefficient? What’s wrong with it?
Mueller It is highly problematical. It is not useful for complex technical challenges. Its acronym is designated as “B.S.”
TRIZ Journal But what replaces brainstorming?
Mueller Highly accurate known conceptual “prompts”that describe the next step in drug delivery systems, and the next step after that.
TRIZ Journal But this appears to be incredible.
Mueller The TRIZ approach, as used by subject matter experts in the drug delivery system industry is truly miraculous.
TRIZ Journal What does your firm, BFI, do? Do you work with drug delivery firms?
Mueller Our strategy, right from the beginning, has been to partner with drug delivery firms involved in both long-term and short-term projects. We offer value to our prestigious partners through analysis, project definition, project direction and system solution. Our role literally permits them to leap-frog the competition.
TRIZ Journal But what is the measuring stick for success?
Mueller There is one, and that is marketplace response.
TRIZ Journal Can you put on your technology forecasting hat and predict the major future developments in the drug delivery marketplace?
Mueller BFI and its partners already know these developments. There will be a move towards the use of electronic, ultrasonic and other types of “fields”. Those fields will become far more modulated, structured and coordinated. Drug delivery systems will follow the path of miniaturization – all the way to micro miniaturization. Non-invasive detection and measurement systems will become the rule, rather than the exception. Separate drug delivery system functions will be merged into single “super-systems”. Biofeedback will be but one of several paths leading to system ideality.
TRIZ Journal Thank you, Dr. Mueller.
(Editor’s note: Pharmaceutical and biomedical engineering firms, and venture capital firms can reach BioFutures Inc. at 930 Tahoe Blvd. #802,Suite 461, Incline Village, NV 89451, Phone: (916) 692-1944 FAX: (916) 692-2354, or via E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)