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Zars Inc.

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Zars Inc. aims to increase the effectiveness of transdermal drug delivery with its self-activated heated patch system called CHADD (controlled heat-aided drug delivery). CHADD works through oxidation and can be used to pulse, increase or decrease the amount of drug in the bloodstream. The company's initial market focus is pain management.

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Drug Delivery: Moving from Platform to Product

The traditional drug-delivery business model of service for hire has fallen from popularity. Big Pharmas are doing few deals of this sort, and investors want bigger returns than fees and royalties can provide. Start-ups with drug delivery technologies are increasingly using their platforms on their own behalf, to create products they can out-license or possibly market themselves. Now content--getting the molecules to be delivered--is an issue.

Drug Delivery: Moving from Platform to Product

The traditional drug-delivery business model of service for hire has fallen from popularity. Big Pharmas are doing few deals of this sort, and investors want bigger returns than fees and royalties can provide. Start-ups with drug delivery technologies are increasingly using their platforms on their own behalf, to create products they can out-license or possibly market themselves. Now content--getting the molecules to be delivered--is an issue.

Drug Delivery Start-Ups

As an industry segment, drug delivery was virtually created by two companies--Alza Corp. and Elan Corp. PLC. These companies have since evolved into drug companies, abandoning a significant part of the field to second-generation arrivistes. Such companies that have survived the funding drought for small-cap companies have benefited, Inhale Therapeutics, for example, has a number of partnerships for its pulmonary delivery technology. Alkermes, probably the leading drug-delivery pure play, now has its first approved product. What is somewhat surprising about the industry is how little it has consolidated, particularly when one considers that no single drug delivery technology is applicable to a majority of drug delivery problems.

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