• Local company making strides toward longer-lasting EpiPen alternative

    By: Jim Morelli

    Updated:

    WATERTOWN, Mass. - It's that time of year again when some parents go on the hunt for an elusive pharmaceutical product. 

    Once again, epinephrine injectable pens — or EpiPens — are in short supply, but a local company is making steady strides toward a possible solution. 

    "It's better than it was a couple of months ago but we're anticipating they could be gone at any point," said Lisa Rogers, Sullivan's Pharmacy. 

    With that in mind, Sullivan's Pharmacy recently stockpiled what would be considered a motherlode of EpiPens and generics taking advantage of rare availability from a wholesaler. 

    "We check every day and some days they have a huge quantity... sometimes they have nothing so it is spotty," said Rogers. 

    Making the shortage of epinephrine pens worse is the fact that the drug has a very short shelf life. A brand new package we found had an expiration date one year from now and many schools require parents to supply a fresh pack every year. 

    The steady demand for injectable epinephrine is fueling the dreams of Windgap Medical in Watertown where they are five years into the development of an EpiPen alternative that could off one clear advantage — a longer shelf life. 

    "So instead of having to renew your prescription every year, this is our goal, to get to maybe two years," said Christopher Stephanian, Windgap Medical. 

    Windgap accomplishes this by keeping the epinephrine dry inside its injector until the time of use. One push and it mixes with a liquid compartment. 

    "We believe we'll be able to submit to the FDA for review... probably a couple of years," said Stephanian. 

    Windgap announced Friday a strategic partnership to handle sales and marketing of the drug once it gets approved.

    As for a resolution of the current epinephrine pen shortage, it's unclear when it will be over.

    Rogers says it puts patients and professionals in a bad spot.

    "It's not optional for them. They need to have it. So it's frustrating. We're frustrated when we can't get it," said Rogers. 

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