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Opko acquires Israeli-made dry powder inhaler to treat respiratory disorders

By Zachary Brennan , 24-Apr-2014

Opko Health has agreed to acquire Inspiro Medical, an Israeli medical device company developing a new platform to deliver small molecule drugs such as corticosteroids and beta agonists or larger molecules to treat respiratory diseases. 

The acquisition of the firm’s Inspiromatic platform comes as Inspiro claims that its "smart" dry powder inhaler has several advantages over existing devices. The device offers improved drug deposition to the lower airways of patients and real time data for patient compliance monitoring.

Dry powder inhalers are gaining market traction in recent months, with Catalent and AstraZeneca making investments in the market. Hovione also recently earned a US patent for its unique inhaler.

But unlike other devices, Inspiro’s has an internal microcontroller and flow sensor that controls the delivery of the medication and, using micro-pump technology, dispenses the drug particles at the right speed. It also provides feedback to the patient with a green or red light to indicate proper inhalation and a beeper after the dose has been delivered. For physicians, Inspiromatic also provides a built-in logger that stores patient use data for easy access and transmission by electronic devices such as smart phones.

In a recently completed, First In Man double blinded clinical study conducted in 30 asthmatic children comparing Inspiromatic to a market leading dry powder inhaler, Inspiromatic demonstrated superior pulmonary delivery of the active drug, the company reported.

Phillip Frost, Opko’s CEO and Chairman, said, "We plan to use the Inspiromatic device to test the inhaled form of Opko's new sulfated disaccharide drug against these disorders. This drug product is still undergoing pre-clinical testing prior to submission of an IND, but animal data indicates safety and efficacy for both inhaled and orally delivered forms.” He added that the platform may improve outcomes of treatment with other drugs currently available with other inhalers, as well as new inhalation drugs being developed.

Nimrod Kaufmann, CEO and co-founder of Inspiro, added, "We are extremely proud of Inspiro's success in bringing our smart Inspiromatic respiratory drug-delivery device to market. With Inspiro now a part of Opko, we will be able to help more people faster.” 

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