Round-up: Innovations and developments in drug delivery

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/ Sasha Brazhnik)
(Image: Getty/ Sasha Brazhnik)

Related tags Drug delivery Drug delivery systems Drug delivery technologies Drug delivery technology Roche

Innovations in drug delivery have hit the market running and as complex drugs breaking onto the market while delivery systems and technologies follow.

The pharmaceutical industry has made great strides in developing drugs for unmet medical needs. Innovations like transdermal gels to move hormones through the blood vessels, enzymes that can reduce injections, and using milk-derived exosomes to facilitate oral administration, the industry is developing ways to deliver these therapies to the patient.

 In-PharmaTechnologist looks back at the recent innovations seen in drug delivery.

Shouldering the responsibility: Male birth control absorbed through skin

Nestorone, comprised of progestin and testosterone, is a reversible contraceptive for men, absorbed through the skin of the upper arms and shoulders. Its formulation​ is designed to reduce the production of sperm without impacting fertility levels after discontinuation of use.

When applied to the skin, the gel helps to introduce the dissolved hormones into the skin that work as a “reservoir from which the hormones are diffused through the vessels under the skin,”​ Regine Sitruk-Ware, co-director of the study, told us.

The shoulders are used as the application site since the skin surface is large enough to receive the 5ml of gel.

Halozyme licenses drug-delivery technology to Roche

Halozyme’s Enhanze technology is based on recombinant human hyaluronidase (RHuPH20) enzyme that temporarily degrades hyaluronan, a chain of natural sugars in the body, which aids in the dispersion and absorption of injected therapeutic drugs.

This drug-delivery method​ will be used by Roche in the development of a clinical stage target and the Swiss company will pay an upfront fee of $25m (€22m) to gain access to the technology. Halozyme states that this form of delivery may allow for more efficient absorption through subcutaneous administration, and reduce the need for multiple injections.

Nemaura to debut 48-hour transdermal pain patch

Nemaura uses its Micro-Patch technology​, to administer solid dose therapeutics. Its diclofenac transdermal gel patch builds on the company’s previous work to deliver treatments to patients with central nervous systems disorder.

The patch size may be as small as 3cm by 3cm, and multiple patches could be applied to the required areas – in the same way gel can be reapplied to multiple areas as needed. In addition, the patch can be applied for a period of 3-4 hours for extended pain relief.

Microbubble technology bypasses blood-brain barrier, says researcher

A study at Washington University in St. Louis has shown a new way to deliver drugs to the brainstem in a non-invasive administration: microbubbles and ultrasound​.

To enhance the transport of intranasally-administered agents, the microbubbles work as a contrast agent in the ultrasound. During this system, FUSIN, or focused ultrasound with intranasal delivery, the ultrasound waves are focused on them, the bubbles expand and contract to move the agent directly towards the brainstem – similar to the movement of red blood cells.

FUSIN works on two nerves, olfactory and trigeminal, to carry the nanoparticles directly to the brain, bypassing the blood-brain barrier.

Intranasal antipsychotic Phase I study begins with first participant dosed

Antipsychotic nasal spray, INP105 intranasal​, with active ingredient olanzipane, is beneficial for rapid response when administered intranasally because the nasal cavity is vascular making it ideal for drug deposition and absorption, according to Impel Neuropharma.

Due to the nature of the administration, the drug candidate was developed for rapid tranquilizing, without excessive sedation, of patients in acute agitation.

Sun Pharma reveals sprinkling of good news, launches novel drug product

Kapspargo Sprinkle​, Sun Pharma’s extended-release heart drug launched in the US market with its novel drug delivery system.

Each capsule of the drug, metoprolol succinate, contains a number of pellets. Each pellet is designed to deliver a continuous, slow-release of the drug. The delivery system for the hypertension treatment was designed for patients who have difficulty swallowing standard formulation medicine.

The capsule can be opened and the pellets sprinkled onto soft food, enabling patients to swallow the medicine while eating. Sun Pharma is the first to create an extended-release medication of this form of medicine and holds a patent on its particular delivery method until July 2035.

Milk-derived drug delivery system given Roche backing

Roche teamed up with PureTech to take advantage of the latter’s milk-derived exosome platform​ to potentially create oral formulations of antisense drugs. The platform’s technology creates exosomes, within which small molecules, biologics or nucleic acids can be packaged and administered orally. The companies’ state that this delivery protects the therapeutics from being destroyed when passing through the stomach and the gut.

Bharatt Chowira, chief of business and strategy at PureTech, told us, “Our milk exosome-based technology is uniquely designed to facilitate the oral administration of complex payloads such as nucleic acids, small molecules, proteins, and peptides. None of the other exosome technologies being pursued are suitable for oral administration because they are very fragile and cannot withstand the harsh conditions of the gastrointestinal environment.”

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