New developments in the delivery space with Depomed signing up another Big Pharma licensee, Silence teaming up to test its tech for MiReven and Micropoint securing development funds for its microneedle system.
Janssen Pharmaceuticals has obtained rights to a gastric retentive delivery technology developed by Depomed, joining existing licensees Boehringer Ingelheim and Ironwood Pharmaceuticals.
The new agreement – which earned California, US-based Depomed $10m (€8m) upfront and the promise of future sales royalties – will see Janssen apply the technology - Acuform - to its opioid analgesic pain medication Nucynta ER (tapentadol) extended-release tablets.
Depomed claims that, unlike pills using some extended release coatings which pass through the upper gastrointestinal tract three hours after ingestion, Acuform tablets are retained for up to nine hours because the polymers on which the technology is based swell, causing the medicine to be retained in the stomach more effectively.
Jannsen is the second Johnson & Johnson subsidiary to license Acuform behind Belgium-based Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, which paid $5m upfront to apply the technology to a fixed dose combination formulation of canagliflozin, a sodium glucose transport 2(SGLT2) inhibitor and extended-release metformin in 2010.
Silence to test delivery techs for MiReven
Next up is Silence Therapeutics, which last week announced it has teamed up with microRNA therapeutics developer MiReven to see if its delivery technology could be applied to the latter’s drugs.
Under the agreement, Silence will use its range of delivery technologies to formulate MiReven’s miR-7 mimetic - a potentially therapeutic mimic of the miR-7 molecule – for evaluation in various cancer models.
Work will focus on AtuPLEX– a system used to delivery drugs to the vascular endothelium – DACC a technology that helps cancer medications reach the pulmonary vascular endothelium – and DBTC, a platform that delivers siRNA to liver endothelial cells, hepatocytes and other liver cell types.
Silence Scientific office Klaus Giese said: "This is the fourth collaboration that we have recently signed to explore the use of Silence's delivery technologies for microRNAs. Whilst we remain internally focused on the delivery of our siRNA therapies, we continue to broaden the potential value of our proprietary delivery systems by collaborating with partners.
Microneedle tech funding
In other drug delivery news, earlier this month Micropoint Technologies has received funding to ‘underpin’ development and commercialisation of its microneedle delivery system.
The technology – developed at Singapore’s Agency for Science and Technology (A*STAR) – consists of plastic micro-needles through an injection moulding process that can be either solid or hollow that are designed to easily and painlessly penetrate the stratum corneum.
Micropoint did not reveal how much funding it has raised, but did disclose that investors include Mercatus Capital collaborated with Angel Investor and GITP Investments.
CEO Lim Chee Yen said: “This investment has come at an opportune time for Micropoint Technologies. After years of R&D, we now have a suite of tested products that are ready to be commercialized.”
"The financial support coupled with the incubation services is just what Micropoint needs to become a major player in this 52 Billion US dollar industry. We have been tracking some major deals which we will announce in due course."