Virpax targets opioid dependence with painkiller gel

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Visivasnc)
(Image: Getty/Visivasnc)
Virpax Pharmaceuticals is developing a long-acting analgesic gel it says could reduce reliance on opioid pain management.

Under the license agreement, Virpax Pharmaceuticals will use LipoCure’s drug delivery technology – a long-acting liposomal gel – to develop anesthetics for post-operative pain.

Liposomes are artificially constructed vesicles made from the same organic phospholipids that make up cell and biomembranes. The technology is designed to deliver active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to specific areas.

The first investigational product to be developed under the agreement – LB100 (3% bupivacaine in lipogel) – is a single-dose investigational treatment comprised of large multi-vesicular vesicles (LMVVs) containing a high dose of local anesthetic bupivacaine.

“The LMCCs are embedded in hydrogel beads to form a lipogel (liposomal hydrogel). These drug-loaded liposomes are composed of lecithin and cholesterol,” ​Virpax CEO Anthony Mack told us.

“Once injected into a wound, bupivacaine is released from the LMVV into the wound. The hydrogel beads are designed to enable bupivacaine to remain at the wound site and have shown in early studies that the treatment can offer consistent post-operative pain management for up to 96 hours,” ​he added. 

Virpax hopes to file a pre-investigational new drug application (pre-IND) meeting request with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before Q3, 2018.

Reduce opioid reliance?

According to Virpax, LBL100’s pain control may last two to three times longer than current marketed products for post-operative pain management.

“If FDA-approved, we envision that this drug could potentially compete with a treatment like Exparel, which is currently on the market and is indicated to provide analgesia for up to 72 hours,” ​Mack told us.

“Overall, we believe LBL100 offers the potential to reduce reliance on opioid pain management to improve quality of care and hospital economics,”​ he added.

Related topics: Drug Delivery, Delivery technologies

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