Elan Corp. plc will apply in the fall for U.S. approval to sell adrug delivery device worn on the wrist that will allow thecontinuous administration of painkillers, the company saidTuesday.

Panoject, which is in clinical testing at U.S. medical centers, isintended to replace intravenous drip stands and to free nursesfrom routine drug administration. According to the company,drug levels will stay constant in the bloodstream comparedwith the peaks and valleys of traditional injection dosing.

Elan expects the system to be able to administer chemotherapy,hormones and other peptide drugs.

Patents covering the electrolytic mechanism of the device'spump and its other technologies have been filed in the UnitedStates and other countries.

The Irish company believes Panoject will answer U.S.guidelines issued March 5 that call for more-aggressive painmanagement in hospitals. The device will cost less than $50,compared with self-administration IV devices on the marketthat cost $4,000 and require "as needed" rather thancontinuous dosing, said spokesman Thomas Redington.

The device was to be introduced today at the Cowen & Co.Health Care Conference in Boston. -- Roberta Friedman, Ph.D.

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