Drug delivery development news in brief

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

in-PharmaTechnologist's round-up of developments in the field of
drug delivery, this week includes: a developmental micro-needle
approach for ocular medications; AlphaRx' anti-infective Zysolin
nanoparticles; and OptiNose's nasal migraine treatment.

Ocular micro-needles ​ A new technique using microscopic needles could provide physicians treating common eye diseases with a safer and more effective means of drug delivery, according to a US team. Traditional methods such as eye drops have difficulty in efficiently delivering drugs to the back of the eye, and ordinary injections are invasive as the needle penetrates across eye tissues. Repeated injections with regular needles can also result in other serious complications to vision. The new approach, which is being developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in the US, uses needles that only penetrate half a millimetre into the eye tissue and are therefore less damaging than currently used methods. As a result, they can be applied to the eye using only local anaesthetic. The team believes that the technique has the potential to "revolutionise the way of treating common eye conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy​." Samirkumar Patel from the group explained that: "Although the research is at an early stage it does show that it is possible to use micro-needles to effectively deliver drugs to targeted sections of the eye, such as the anterior and posterior portions. No inflammatory response or other adverse effects were observed in our early tests. This is promising news for those who are suffering from vision threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy​." Patel added that the next stage of development will be further research to confirm its safety and gain a better understanding of any long-term effects. Zysolin boosts survival in animal pneumonia model​ Biopharmaceutical firm AlphaRx says that data from preclinical trials of its inhaled drug Zysolin (tobramycin nanoparticles) demonstrate that it has superior efficacy in murine models of acute Pseudomonas aeruginosa​ pneumonia, compared with injectable forms of the anti-infective Zysolin is intended for the adjunctive treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa​ pneumonia in intubated and mechanically-ventilated patients (VAP). It is being developed to replace injectable forms of the drug that currently dominate the market. "P. aeruginosa is one of the most common and lethal pathogens responsible for ventilator-associated pneumonia in intubated patients, with directly attributable death rates reaching 40%. Reducing this mortality rate may be possible, if a more effective therapy for the treatment of Pseudomonas VAP can be developed,"​ said Michael Weisspapir, CMS of AlphaRx. "If approved, Zysolin(TM) could be a first-in-class cell-targeted nanomedicine which is designed to target intracellular pathogens that have proven to be very difficult to eradicate clinically,"​ added by Dr. Weisspapir. OptiNose's nasal migraine drug ​Norwegian company OptiNose says that data from Phase II trials demonstrate the superior performance of its novel nasal drug delivery device in combination with sumatriptan for the treatment of migraine. The results indicate that sumatriptan applied using the novel delivery system confers migraine relief as quickly and efficiently as injected forms of the medication, but without the discomfort, inconvenience and risk of injury with which they are associated. Specifically, the data which were presented at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in Boston, Massachusetts, showed that headache relief was achieved in 74.3 per cent and 83.8 per cent of patients at 60 minutes and 120 minutes after administration, respectively, and 48.6 per cent of patients remained pain free after 48 hours. The findings were statistically significant when compared with placebo group and confirmed earlier Phase I results which showed that OptiNose's powder nasal drug delivery device achieved the maximum sumatriptan concentration in the blood at a median time of 20 minutes after administration. This result was comparable to injections and much faster than rival intranasal delivery technologies. "We are excited to develop this new treatment for the approximately 30 million Americans who suffer from migraines​," said Per Djupesland, the study's co-author and CSO at OptiNose AS. "Our new device combination will offer patients a much-needed alternative to existing, slower-acting nasal inhalers and tablets and painful injections​."

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