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Drug delivery development news in brief

By Gareth Macdonald , 29-May-2008

in-PharmaTechnologist's round-up of developments in the field of drug delivery, this week includes: Access' Cobalamin technology; AlphaRx' nanobiotics; Inovio's DNA delivery system; and PTG.

Access' cobalamin delivery system makes insulin oral Access Pharmaceuticals says that its vitamin-B12 (colbalamin)-based delivery system for insulin brought about substantial glucose lowering benefits in an animal model study of diabetes. The data, which were presented at International Symposium on Polymer Therapeutics in Valencia, Spain, showed that insulin tablets formulated using cobalamin-coated nanoparticles were more effective at cutting blood glucose levels than unformulated oral insulin. The findings also showed that the beneficial effect was sustained for longer than with subcutaneously delivered insulin. David Nowotnik, Access' senior vice president of R&D, said: "these new data provide strong evidence that our cobalamin technology can be very effective in two important areas of drug development, and demonstrate that cobalamin technology has the potential to provide a pipeline of new products in the future." Access is also developing a cobalamin oral formulation for human growth hormone (hGH) in a research programme sponsored by an as-yet unidentified major pharmaceutical company. A number of companies have tried to develop oral formulations of insulin, with the field currently led by Generex, whose Ora-Lyn spray product is on sale in Latin America and licensed to Eli Lilly. Others working in this area included Emisphere Technologies, Israel's Oramed and the UK firm Diabetology. The latter is run by the same management team that first proposed an oral formulation of insulin at a company known as Cortecs in the early 1990s. AlphaRx signs US Army research deal Biopharmaceutical firm AlphaRx has established an agreement with the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (US AMRIID) to develop a range of novel drug formulations. The accord will use AlphaRx' proprietary nanobiotics delivery platform to enhance the clinical efficacy of drugs that are either insoluble or that have proved difficult to otherwise administer. Specifically, the antibiotics ciprofloxacin, doxycycline and gentamicin will be examined in the treatment of severe infections caused by class A bacterial pathogens. The deal is part of the US Government's Project Bioshield program, which is focused on the development of treatments for diseases caused by organisms that have potential application in biological weapons. ABL licenses Inovio's delivery technology US-based contract research organisation Advanced BioScience Laboratories (ABL) has licensed Inovio Biomedical's electroporation-based DNA delivery technology for application in its DNA vaccines programme. The deal, financial terms of which have not been disclosed, will allow ABL to both conduct research on DNA vaccines delivered using the system and offer an electroporation-based delivery service to its industrial customers. Inovio's CEO, Avtar Dhillon, commented that technology covered by the agreement "may help enable the early development of a number of vaccines designed to elicit strong T-cell responses, which are thought to be needed to control a number of chronic infectious diseases, such as HIV and cancer." Phil Markham, ABL's scientific director, said: "we have used electroporation, like the results being produced using this technology, and feel it is an important tool in vaccine development." He went on to report that "clients have been requesting electroporation technology and we look forward to being able to provide this cutting edge tool and expertise as a service for customers." PTG licenses bioresorbable polymer technology California, US-based Polymer Technology Group, set to be acquired by Dutch life sciences giant DSM, has signed a deal with New Jersey-headquartered Bezwada Biomedical, under which it gains access to the latter's range of bioresorbable polymers. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed. PTG believes that Bezwada's technology, which is designed to degrade under physiological conditions, has considerable potential in both drug delivery and tissue engineering applications, as well as a coating for medical devices.

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