Drug delivery news in brief

By Nick Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Erectile dysfunction drugs, Brain tumor, Erectile dysfunction, Opioid

in-PharmaTechnologist’s periodic round up of developments in the field of drug delivery includes BioDelivery initiating Phase I studies, success for Titan and a novel use for Viagra.

Bioral enters Phase I

BioDelivery Sciences International (BDSI) has initiated its first Phase I study of a product using its Bioral drug delivery technology.

The technology entraps the therapeutic in a crystal matrix, which BDSI believes makes it suitable for the delivery of drugs that cannot be administered orally.

BDSI claims that its technology protects drugs from gastrointestinal degradation and increases absorption. It is targeting biopharmaceuticals and drugs with poor oral solubility for future developments.

The drug in the current trial is Amphotericin B, a treatment for serious fungal infections that is currently delivered intravenously.

Raphael Mannino, chief scientific officer at BDSI, said: "The ability to orally administer amphotericin B using the Bioral technology could have a major impact on treatment approaches for systemic fungal infections which often require hospitalisation and intravenous therapy.​"

Positive results for Titan’s subcutaneous implant

Titan Pharmaceuticals has achieved positive results from its Phase III clinical trial of Probuphine, using its novel, subcutaneous implant.

Probuphine uses Titan’s ProNeura technology to deliver six months of buprenorphine for the treatment of opioid addiction.

The implant is a polymer matrix embedded with the therapeutic and placed under the skin from where it releases the drug over a period of six months.

Marc Rubin, CEO of Titan, said: “These data show that our proprietary subcutaneous implant can safely deliver Probuphine over six months. We look forward to completing this development program and forging strategic alliances to commercialize Probuphine worldwide​."

Viagra gives lift to cancer research

A study published in Brain Research ​claims that erectile dysfunction drugs helped improve the delivery of therapeutics to malignant brain tumours in rats.

The researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Maxine Dunitz Neurosurgical Institute found that in lab rats erectile dysfunction drugs Viagra (sildenafil) and Levitra (vardenafil) opened the blood-brain tumor barrier, increasing the level of therapeutic reaching the tumour.

Erectile dysfunction drugs inhibit the enzyme phosphodiesterase-5, which can cause decreased blood flow that leads to erectile dysfunction.

In lab rats the drugs acted in a similar way on the blood-brain tumour barrier, opening up the blood vessels and facilitating the flow of therapeutics to the affected area.

The researchers believe this could allow for more targeted delivery of therapeutics, resulting in a decrease in harmful side effects.

However, the lab rats were subjected to doses comparable to those administered to people for treating erectile dysfunction, which may cause some difficulties in scaling up the treatment to be effective in humans.

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