in-Pharmatechnologist looks at the latest news in drug delivery

By Alexandria Pešić

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drug delivery Pharmacology

Outsourcing-Pharma reviews the latest developments in drug delivery with news from HepaLife Technologies and Jeiven, SurModics and Edge, as well as EDAP, Epitarget AS and INSERM.

Generic transdermal patches to treat shingles

Jeiven Pharmaceutical Consulting will assist HepaLife Technologies’ subsidiary, Alliqua BioMedical with the development and manufacture of a transdermal patch for the treatment of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN).

The companies said they will “aggressively pursue”​ a generic version of an existing pain management patch used to treat PHN associated with shingles, which represents a growing medical problem in the US and worldwide due to increasing elderly populations.

According to Alliqua CEO, Matthew Harriton, HepaLife’s proprietary hydrogel technology will be used to deliver “a high quality, low cost”​ variation of the existing transdermal patch. This will enable the drugs and active ingredients to pass directly through the stratum corneum, thereby “avoiding ‘first pass’ of the digestive system and liver.”

The total US market for pain management pharmaceuticals reached more than $20bn in 2009, with the prescription pain patch market valued at $1bn in the US alone. Data from the Centres for Disease Control shows that around 1m cases of shingles occur in the US each year, with 20 per cent of such cases resulting in PHN.

SurModics team up with Edge Therapeutics for DCI therapy

SurModics has entered into a licensing agreement for drug delivery technology with biopharma company, Edge Therapeutics, to develop NimoGel for the treatment of delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), which often occurs after subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH).

While SurModics will offer its proprietary technologies, Edge will lead and fund development and commercialisation of the program to produce a biodegradable, site-specific, sustained-release formulation of NimoGel.

The project will combine the FDA-approved calcium channel blocker, nimodipine, with SurModics’ proprietary delivery system to meet what R. Loch Macdonald, Edge Therapeutics’ CSO, described as “an urgent need for better treatments to address complications resulting from SAH.

The current treatment, oral nimodipine, he continued, is largely ineffective as it fails to provide adequate drug concentrations at the injury site of the brain.

As the new formulation is designed for to provide the appropriate concentration of nimodipine directly to the injury, with fewer side-effects, “NimoGel has the potential ability to dramatically improve patient outcomes where other drugs have failed,”​ claimed Macdonald.

Ultrasound technologies improve cancer drug delivery, says study

After the three-year long research program between Norwegian firm Epitarget, French academic laboratory INSERM, and EDAP, results show that High Intensity Focused Ultrasound HIFU activates the cancer drug, doxorubicin, after it has accumulated in solid tumours, and consequentially, can assist drug delivery.

Commenting on the findings, Espen Nilssen, CEO of Epitarget, said, “Epitarget’s ultrasound sensitive liposomes, in combination with therapeutic ultrasound, enhanced the efficacy of established cancer drugs. It provides hope to millions of cancer patients.”

Eager to validate claims that HIFU is beneficial for use in cancer drug delivery, the researchers plan to initiate a pre-clinical study to demonstrate how HIFU technology can adapt to new therapeutic applications.

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