InMed’s eye-catching cannabinoid ‘lense’ for drug delivery

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/Shidlovski
GettyImages/Shidlovski

Related tags Eye

InMed Pharmaceuticals is developing a gel-based cannabinoid drug for eye diseases such as glaucoma, which it says could be cheaper and more accessible than cannabinoid-based products on the market.

The nanoparticle hydrogel – made in conjunction with the University of British Columbia – is designed to ‘hold the drug in place’, and administer it directly to the cornea and lens.

The technology promotes trans-corneal absorption, which diffuses the drug within the eye to the retina, said InMed.

Its “proprietary hydrogel delivery method offers unique rheological characteristics permitting it to form a thin, uniform coating over the cornea through blinking of the eyelid,” ​the firm added.

‘Gel-like lense’ vs eye drops

According to the Vancouver, Canada-based firm, the technology delivers more of the drug to the retina than traditional eye drops.

“Typical ocular formulations, such as eye drops, are washed away almost immediately upon administration due to blinking,” ​said InMed.

“Total drug delivered using this hydrogel nanoparticle formulation was three-times higher than the standard control formulation,” ​the firm added.

‘Reasonable cost’

InMed's CEO Eric Adams told us the technology costs less to manufacture than plant- or synthetic-based cannabinoid products. 

“The purpose of developing the biosynthesis process in the first place was to be able to access the minor cannabinoids at a reasonable cost,” ​he said.

According to Adams, products – depending on the cannabinoid – sourced from plant extraction or synthetic chemistry can cost $10k (€8.6k).

“We cannot comment on our costs, but they are a fraction of that,” ​he told us.

InMed told us the hydrogel technology is still in pre-clinical phase, but it hopes to license it out in the future.

“When appropriate, we will look to partner…likely in mid-2018,” ​he said.

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