Biotech company Genzyme Pharmaceuticals and drug delivery firm Brookwood Pharmaceuticals are now working together to create new ways of delivering peptide-based drugs.
The partnership aims to offer customised solutions for parenteral formulations by combining each other's expertise in design for peptide delivery, peptide synthesis, and drug delivery technologies.
Brookwood's scientific team has experience in a wide range of drug delivery systems, particularly in long-acting parenterals such as microparticles and solid implants.
Genzyme's expertise lies in custom good manufacturing practice (GMP) peptide development and manufacturing.
"Many new and important drug delivery technologies can be developed from the portfolio of novel materials and technologies owned by Genzyme and Brookwood," said Dan Hayden, senior vice president and general manager of Genzyme.
New ways of delivering drugs that contain large molecules, such as peptides, are highly sought after because these drugs are the hardest to deliver successfully, and often require subcutaneous delivery by injection - insulin is a prime example.
This is because the cells in the body are connected to each other by tight junctions which effectively prevent drugs getting through into the cell.
Many drug therapies that contain small molecules are still able to get into the cells easily because the small molecules can pass through the actual cell wall and bypass the tight junction but drugs made with large molecules cannot pass through the cell wall and require the tight junctions to be opened before they can get into the cell and be effective.
As a result of the challenges of getting large compounds into the body effectively, production of these drugs is often also complex and expensive.
The Genzyme-Brookwood collaboration will not promote a specific technology, but instead take a 'Design for Peptide Delivery' approach, optimising peptide physical and chemical properties early on in drug development, so as to match a peptide with the properties of microparticles, implants and other drug delivery formulations required for optimal drug delivery.
"From our experience in peptide delivery, we have learned that focus on peptide modification and peptide properties can greatly aid in the stability and performance of a peptide drug delivery product," said Arthur Tipton, president and CEO of Brookwood.
Other services now offered include research-scale peptide synthesis for backbone and side chain modifications, evaluation of available drug delivery technologies, large-scale peptide drug substance production, formulation feasibility studies and development of micro-encapsulation processes, drug excipients manufacturing (phospholipids and polymers), drug product formulation, and manufacturing of clinical supplies and final drug delivery product.
As the drug delivery industry continues to see enormous strides forward, the renaissance in peptide drugs is only just beginning.