A drug delivery system that promises to improve the treatment of a range of eye diseases, in development at French pharmaceutical company Novagali Pharma, has won a Kaye Innovation Award.
The method, which uses positively charged emulsions, was designed by Professor Shimon Benita of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem School of Pharmacy in Israel.
The surface of the eye bears a negative charge; therefore, when the positively-charged emulsions - containing an oily core in which the desired active drug compound is dissolved - reach the eye surface, the medication is more speedily and effectively absorbed than in existing preparations.
Prof Benita and Novagali Pharma have demonstrated that a definite advantage over existing medications, including those emulsions that have no charge or with a negative charge.
Cationorm, one of the new products developed by Novagali and based on the emulsion on its on with no other active pharmaceutical ingredient (API), has completed Phase II clinical trials for treatment of low and moderate degree dry eye syndrome, with another set of trials now having just begun in France for treatment of the more severe form.
Cationorm should only need to be dosed twice a day, compared to four to eight times for current artificial tear products.
Retinal treatment without injection
Also under investigation is the use of this method of drug delivery for treatment of severe diseases of the posterior portions of the eye, especially the retina. The ability to deliver medications to this portion of the eye without injections could provide a significant breakthrough for Novagali.
Founded in 2000 by Benita and the Hebrew University's Yissum Research Development Company, Novagali has succeeded since its founding in raising nearly €18 million from French venture capital firms, including €14m in a single round last September.
The Kaye Innovation Awards have been presented annually since 1994. They were established by Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, in order to encourage faculty and staff of the university to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit society.