Skip to main content

Human trials take inflating needle-filled smart pills closer to market

Rani updated video 2018

Who wouldn’t want to be able to replace regular painful injections with a smart pill? That’s what San Jose, California-based company Rani Therapeutics has developed with its innovative RaniPill. While the RaniPill looks like a regular capsule, when its outer layer dissolves in the intestine, a miniature balloon inflates inside and pushes a tiny needle into the intestinal muscular wall to inject its contents. Because the intestine has no pain receptors, all of this happens without the patient feeling a thing. The balloon then deflates, and the pill can be passed via the, err, normal channels.

On the surface, this high-tech pill of the future sounds like the kind of Rube Goldberg solution that will never make it past initial prototypes. You’d be wrong, however, since the RaniPill just underwent a human trial, taking it one step closer to market. In the trial, participants were given RaniPills containing octreotide, a drug prescribed as part of the treatment for certain types of tumors found in the intestines and pancreas.

RaniPill in hand
Rani Therapeutics

“The phase one clinical study of Octreotide-RP was conducted in Australia with 58 healthy adult volunteers,” Mir Imran, CEO and founder of Rani Therapeutics, told Digital Trends. “The test group was comprised of both male and female subjects aged 18 to 55. Of the 58 participants, 52 were dosed with Octreotide-RP, the RaniPill loaded with octreotide. A control group of six participants was given an intravenous injection of an identical dose of octreotide.”

The study confirmed the RaniPill was well tolerated, meaning the subjects could easily swallow it and did not feel any pain or other unpleasant sensations. It also demonstrated that the RaniPill can safely and effectively deliver drugs into the intestinal wall in the appropriate dosage.

The company is planning further tests later in the year, and is in discussions with pharmaceutical companies and regulators in the United States and Europe. Initially, the company hopes to use the RaniPill to deliver nine drugs, including octreotide and insulin.

“[When it will make it to market depends] on the timing of FDA approval,” Imran continued. “We are engaged in discussions with the FDA, and expect approval in two to three years.”

Editors' Recommendations

Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more
CES 2023: HD Hyundai’s Avikus is an A.I. for autonomous boat and marine navigation
Demonstration of NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

This content was produced in partnership with HD Hyundai.
Autonomous vehicle navigation technology is certainly nothing new and has been in the works for the better part of a decade at this point. But one of the most common forms we see and hear about is the type used to control steering in road-based vehicles. That's not the only place where technology can make a huge difference. Autonomous driving systems can offer incredible benefits to boats and marine vehicles, too, which is precisely why HD Hyundai has unveiled its Avikus AI technology -- for marine and watercraft vehicles.

More recently, HD Hyundai participated in the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, to demo its NeuBoat level 2 autonomous navigation system for recreational boats. The name mashes together the words "neuron" and "boat" and is quite fitting since the Avikus' A.I. navigation tech is a core component of the solution, it will handle self-recognition, real-time decisions, and controls when on the water. Of course, there are a lot of things happening behind the scenes with HD Hyundai's autonomous navigation solution, which we'll dive into below -- HD Hyundai will also be introducing more about the tech at CES 2023.

Read more
This AI cloned my voice using just three minutes of audio
acapela group voice cloning ad

There's a scene in Mission Impossible 3 that you might recall. In it, our hero Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) tackles the movie's villain, holds him at gunpoint, and forces him to read a bizarre series of sentences aloud.

"The pleasure of Busby's company is what I most enjoy," he reluctantly reads. "He put a tack on Miss Yancy's chair, and she called him a horrible boy. At the end of the month, he was flinging two kittens across the width of the room ..."

Read more