Awarded by research and consulting company Frost & Sullivan, the award recognises the Massachusetts-based specialty pharmaceutical company's development of a unique platform technology that enhances the delivery of topically applied drugs and the utility of potent systematically delivered drugs. "Founded in 1999, this privately held, venture-backed specialty pharmaceutical company . . . is revolutionising the treatment of dermal diseases by bringing together cutting-edge medical electronics with advanced drug formulation and material sciences to develop combination drug-device products," Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Pramodh Ishwarakrishnan said. Transport's lead candidate is the SoloVir Electrokinetic Transdermal System (ETS) indicated for the treatment of herpes labialis (cold sores). The system is a drug-device combination product where a small wireless reusable microprocessor-controlled drug delivery unit that contains a pre-filled drug reservoir cartridge is fitted onto a finger for self-administration. The system delivers 100 times more antiviral drug acyclovir directly into the skin area than conventional treatments, in a once-only, 10-minute application. The drug in a gel formulation and is delivered via an electric current. "Electrokinetic drug delivery has emerged as an alternative approach to overcome the limitations of, and to obviate the need for, hypodermic injection of many medications. Transport Pharmaceuticals has achieved the noble distinction of creating a system which is poised to revolutionise the field of dermal drug delivery," Ishwarakrishnan said. Generally, the outer layer of the skin, the stratum corneum, acts as the immune system's natural first-line of defence as an impermeable barrier. The barrier is a challenge for pharmaceutical manufacturers to overcome in topically applied drugs. Transport's technology aims to overcome this problem with a high dose of drug delivered rapidly and painlessly to the affected dermal tissue. "Capitalising on electrokinetic drug delivery, the SoloVir ETS eliminated the concomitant problems of pain, trauma, and the risk of patient infection," Ishwarakrishnan said. Transport chief executive and president Dennis Goldberg said: "It is a great honour to receive this award . . . It is gratifying to see the recognition for our innovation which is expected to bring significant contributions to patients afflicted with dermatology diseases and the physicians who treat them." SoloVir ETS, indicated for the treatment of cold sores, has recently completed Phase II trials and is expected to commence the next stage of clinical development in 2008. Transport's initial focus is on cold sores but the company also hopes to look at onychomycosis, acne, actinic keratosis, keloids, warts, psoriasis, skin cancer and medical aesthetic applications. Transport outsources manufacturing of the drug and the device.