Under the agreement, Teva will make a $35m upfront payment to Microchips in the form of an equity investment and tech access fee, with the initial focus on one unnamed disease area. Teva has the option to later expand the program into additional therapeutic areas and Microchips could receive development and commercial milestone payments and royalties on future product sales.
Microchips, a spinout from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will also receive funding to develop products for any future additional indications Teva may develop, and Teva will be responsible for Phase II and III clinical development and regulatory filings.
The device from Microchips is made up of microchip arrays that can store hundreds of drug doses that can be appropriately released in months or even years. The device, which has wireless control features, can be programmed to release drug on a pre-determined schedule.
Cheryl Blanchard, CEO of Microchips, said: “This is the first of what we hope to be many partnerships with industry to leverage our technology across a broad array of therapeutic applications and disease states.”
The high expectations come as the chip has only been clinically-validated in human studies delivering parathyroid hormone in osteoporosis patients. In that study, which was published in 2012 in Science Translational Medicine, chips were implanted into seven elderly women, delivering teriparatide to strengthen bones. Results indicated that the chips delivered doses comparable to injections, with no adverse side effects.
“The microchip-based implant is truly at the intersection of digital technology and medicine and the future of drug delivery for patients who cannot tolerate needles, require regular self-administered injections or where compliance is critical to outcomes,” added Michael Hayden, Teva’s President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer.
A Teva spokeswoman told us that it is “premature to speculate on eventual cost to patients or specific applications at this time.”
The Teva partnership follows grants received by Microchips from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a microchip-based contraceptive implant that provides up to 16 years of reversible birth control for women in developing countries who have limited access to routine medical care and modern contraceptive options. That program is still ongoing, the company said.