BioProgress last week announced an update to their agreement with licensing partner FMC Corporation for its oral drug delivery technology, NRobe.
The UK company expects the revised agreement to be finalised by the end of December 2006.
NRobe is an oral drug delivery technology designed to enhance the stability of existing drugs and is applicable to both small and large molecules. The system is presented as a 'modern alternative' to film-coated and gel-dipped tablets, and FMC is currently the exclusive worldwide licensee of the technology.
Using the NRobe system, the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) and excipients are lightly compressed, enveloped between two films and then sealed to produce a compacted, coated dosage form. The technology removes the need to include the usual quantities or number of tabletting excipients, which can result in a reduction of the dispensing and mixing operations required, cut formulation cost, and also potentially result in a smaller final dosage form, according to BioProgress.
The agreement restructure will allow the launch of NRobe with major pharmaceutical companies on a development and milestone basis, and while currently in discussions the company was remaining tight-lipped regarding details of potential partnerships. BioProgress will earn up to 20 per cent of all milestone and royalty income received by FMC on commercialised NRobe products, dependent upon agreed performance criteria, and supply film.
According to BioProgress, the drug delivery system market has a predicted annual growth of 7-9 per cent, reaching $135bn (€103bn) by 2010 with oral delivery representing 25% of the market.
Both companies have also agreed to explore the possibility of BioProgress' use of NRobe technology for its own developed products. These would then be marketed by its pharmaceutical products division, Dexo BioPharm, which was established following the company's acquisition of Dexo SA in December 2005.
Nicotine strip nears clinic
Meanwhile, BioProgress also recently announced the publishing of a worldwide patent for an orally dissolving strip incorporating nicotine, which offers a rapidly absorbed low dose of the drug.
The company intends to take the product into the clinic during the second half of 2007, and is currently in talks with a number of potential partners regarding its commercialisation. The move marks further developments in the company's smoking cessation / nicotine replacement therapy franchise, and is one of the latest developments following the appointment of Richard Trevillion as CEO in February 2005.