Eiffel to accelerate drug re-engineering efforts

Related tags Carbon dioxide

Drug re-engineering company Eiffel Technologies will add to its
existing project in improving insulin delivery with the start of
clinical trials of an in-house product early next year, writes
Wai Lang Chu.

Eiffel said it plans to use its Supercritical Fluid (SCF) technology, designed to improve the efficacy of drugs and extend their patent life by reforming them into nano-sized particles that are easier for the body to absorb, in the area of asthma.

To date, the company has evaluated over 30 drugs and has seen at least five having potential for improved performance with SCF. It intends to screen a further 8 to 12 re-engineered drugs per year, of which three are expected to progress to preclinical trials and one to go on to clinical trials.

Eiffel's particle re-engineering technology in fact encompasses four separate technologies, all of which are based on basic premise that the faster the precipitation of drugs out of solution, the smaller the particles created.

The company has devised various techniques in which drugs are dissolved in SCF - usually carbon dioxide or another dense gas - which can be maintained in both gaseous and liquid state simultaneously. The transition between the two causes the rapid precipitation or crystallisation of the drug, and the resulting micro- or nanoparticles.

Eiffel claims that its re-engineered products can get to the market in less than half the time and at a fraction of the cost of a totally new drug. Furthermore, risk is reduced as the technology is applied to existing drugs with proven efficacy and established markets.

With a market estimated at $6 billion (€4.9 billion), inhaled insulin is the delivery option attracting most international interest. Encouraging animal studies have led Eiffel to work with several companies who are evaluating its re-engineered insulin in their different delivery devices.

Eiffel​ said it is also interested in purchasing additional technology platforms or delivery mechanisms to complement its SCF platform.

Meanwhile, the company has been ramping up its production capacity via a 100-fold scale up of its technologies at a new facility. This is expected to be fully operational within the next six weeks.

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