MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dr. Douglas McMahon, with the Allergy and Asthma Center of Minnesota in Eagan, has created an Epinephrine (EpiPen) alternative that he is trying to get on the market.
“I’ve been working on this for many years,” McMahon said. “I actually have severe food allergies myself, so I’ve need to carry an Epinephrine device for many years. Throughout that process I’ve realized the current device is really big and cumbersome, to the point where I hardly ever carried it.”
He says you never know when you are going to have a severe reaction, so it is important to keep the medicine with you at all times.
He says he started tinkering around his lab several years ago and created a smaller device, which he calls AllergyStop.
“By chance I came to realize how inexpensive the parts were, including the medicine, and I realized we can sell it to patients for a very reasonable cost,” McMahon said.
A double pack of EpiPens is currently being sold for $600 by the device maker Mylan. They were sold for $57 in 2007.
MacMahon is in the process of raising millions of dollars to get AllergyStop to patients.
“It cost an incredible amount of money and time and effort,” McMahon said. “I have a patent on my device and one of these advisors says, ‘It probably doesn’t even matter because it’s so hard to take a product to market, you really won’t have any competitors.'”
McMahon needs to take AllergyStop through “human factor” studies to pass FDA standards. The tests will make sure the medicine inside his device stays sterile and potent for a certain period of time.
It is also exposed to heat, cold and sunlight. He says the testing will cost around $2 million. He is taking bids right now from manufactures to produce AllergyStop.
McMahon says companies like Mylan may have lost sight of patient needs and are catering to investors. He believes that is why we are seeing these skyrocketing prices for EpiPens.
“I’m a patient that uses this device and I would prescribe this device, so I know both sides of the field,” McMahon said.
He started a fundraising campaign one month ago using Indiegogo.com. Funding has been slow.
He says he plans to open up AllergyStop to investors, but hopes he does not run into issues, like investors looking to jack up the price from $50.