Transdermal Drug Delivery: More Than Skin Deep
This article was originally published in Start Up
Start-ups continue to seize opportunities for delivering new and existing drugs transdermally. They are also poised to capitalize on next-generation technologies for delivering macromolecules through the skin. In this issue, we profile AllTranz, Ocelus, Quinnova Pharmaceuticals and Syntropharma.
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Syntropharma Ltd. aims to take known drugs that can be improved via transdermal delivery, or gain product life-extension through reformulation in the novel delivery mechanism. The company is focusing on two candidates: a transdermal selegiline patch for depression (aimed at the European market) and a patch formulation of naltrexone, an opioid receptor antagonist for battling dependence on alcohol and opiates.
AllTranz Inc. has technology suitable for making pro-drugs out of opioids and cannabinoids, and it thinks these can be developed as treatments for a wide range of indications, from neuropathic pain to addiction, pancreatitis, and more. The company is leading, however, with a gel formulation that combines cannabidiol and penetration enhancers to treat the pain of osteoarthritis as well as strains and sprains.
Ocelus Ltd. hopes to extend transdermal delivery to macromolecules. Its early-stage technology combines a microchip reservoir with microneedles that could painlessly inject precise yet tiny amounts of a drug into the skin at hundreds of sites per square centimeter. This could make administration simpler, and by reducing the pain associated with injectable drugs, improve patient compliance.