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Compact Self-contained Pump Offers Efficient Drug Delivery Capability

Technology Overview

The global human insulin market has witnessed strong growth in the recent years as a result of increased prevalence of diabetes, growing ageing population around the world, and better public awareness in diabetes management. This trend is expected to continue over the next few years—driving up the demand for insulin pumps. The market recording US$3.8 billion in 2020 is projected to grow at a CAGR of 16.68%, reaching US$8.3 billion in 2025.

However, for the market to reach its full potential, safer and better performing new generation insulin pumps with advanced features are needed. The present insulin pumps available in the market not only tend to be rather bulky, but also require a change in pump cartridge every few days.

Thus far, efforts directed at developing smaller pumps have brought reservoirs and connecting conduits down to the nanometre scale achieved with the help of etching techniques. However, attempts in miniaturising the actual pumping mechanism often compromises the efficiency of the pump and brings challenges for accurate control.

The technology offers possible solutions for instrument miniaturisation while enabling the realisation of the insulin pump’s full market potential.

Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages

This novel self-contained pump technology comprises an integrated pump, a reservoir, a pumping mechanism and at least one outlet. Through compressing the reservoir in a controlled manner, the pumping mechanism, which features at least one piezoelectric actuator on at least one wall of the reservoir, forces a required volume of fluid from the reservoir through at least one outlet.

With the ability to move accurate amounts of fluid with precise displacement of the actuators, the pump has the potential to be used for insulin injection where only microlitres of insulin need to be injected into the human body every few minutes. The reduced size of the pump also offers opportunities for enlarging the reservoir size and lengthening the time between each cartridge change.

Additionally, the self-contained pump has low power consumption. The pump can be powered by standard dry cell batteries and is suitable for use externally or after implantation.

Potential Applications

The technology is suitable for use in controlled drugs release as the pump is able to move accurate amounts of fluid with precise displacement of the actuators.

Another application for the small self-contained pump is the replacement of the mechanical valve of the Intravenous therapy (IV) gravity drip.

Customer Benefit

The compact size of the pump offers the opportunity of reducing current sizes of insulin pumps in the market, bringing about greater comfort for the patient during use. The pump components can be accordingly sized to allow for longer duration between each cartridge change. There is also flexibility for external use or be utilized as an implantation.

Contact Person

Mun Thoh Ma


National University of Singapore

Technology Category

  • Healthcare
  • Diagnostics, Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals & Therapeutics, Telehealth, Medical Software & Imaging
  • Life Sciences
  • Industrial Biotech Methods & Processes

Technology Readiness Level


insulin injection, self-contained pump