Injection-only therapies for gut issues soon may become oral medicines
SAN JOSE, Calif. New injection-only therapies may be available as oral medicines one day. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, including lead researcher Tejal Desai, are looking at ways to enhance the “oral availability” of drugs by designing new delivery devices that will help their absorption in the gut.
Desai plans to present her research at a meeting of the scientific society AVS here on Nov. 12. Working with a Bay-area biotechnology company, she is making devices that are sort of like spiny beads filled with drugs. The spines on these beads are silicon nanowires designed to form an adhesive interface with the tiny, hair-like cilia that cover the cells lining the gut. They are designed to stick like burrs to the cells lining the gut and slowly release their drugs there. Localized in one spot, the drugs have a better chance of diffusing into the bloodstream.
Of the many characteristic traits a drug can have, one of the most desirable is the ability for a drug to be swallowed and absorbed into the bloodstream through the gut. Some drugs, such as over-the-counter aspirin, lend themselves to this mode of delivery. Other drugs cannot be swallowed and must be administered instead through more complicated routes. Insulin, for instance, must be injected.
The reason why insulin and many other drugs cannot be swallowed is that they cannot survive the trip through the digestive tract — wherein they are first plunged into the acid bath of the stomach and then passed into the intestines, which are filled with enzymes designed to break down such molecules as insulin. Aspirin does fine in the gut because its active ingredient is a small chemical that doesn’t get broken down. Conversely, insulin is quickly degraded.
Desai currently is fine-tuning the geometry of the nanowires in order to optimize their adhesion. Her laboratory has done a number of toxicity studies with the beads, and their plan next is to look at how effectively they can deliver proteins, peptides and other macromolecules that are not usually taken orally.
One of the advantages of this approach, Desai said, is that it may be applicable for delivering drugs to other parts of the body as well, including such mucosal tissues as the insides of the nose, lungs or vagina, where the surface cells also are coated with such cilia.
Blacksmith Brands acquires five McNeil OTC brands, inks deal with The Emerson Group
NEW YORK Blacksmith Brands on Friday announced that it had completed its acquisition of five over-the-counter consumer brands from McNeil, including Efferdent denture cleaner, Effergrip denture adhesive cream, Luden’s throat drops, Pediacare children’s cough-and-cold medicine and Gentle Vapors waterless vaporizer, and Nasalcrom, a nasal allergy relief spray.
Concurrent with this acquisition, Blacksmith Brands has announced a key business and equity partnership with The Emerson Group. The Emerson Group, a sales and marketing company located in Wayne, Pa., will provide sales and sales management services.
“We are pleased and proud to have The Emerson Group as our partner not only in the operation of our business, but as an equity partner in our new company,” stated Peter Mann, Blacksmith CEO. “We believe that the Emerson Group will be a key catalyst in our plans to grow Blacksmith Brands into a major consumer products company.
FDA approves Arkray’s new glucose monitoring system
EDINA, Minn. A manufacturer of diabetes self-monitoring systems announced that it received clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for its new Glucocard Vital blood glucose monitoring system.
Arkray said its new meter and strip platform, which will be available for distribution in early December, is expected to be a significant complement to the existing Glucocard line of products, and will be ideal for the home medical equipment, durable medical equipment, mail-order and managed care markets.
“We’re very excited about the latest addition to our Glucocard brand,” said Jonathan Chapman, president of Arkray USA. “The Vital meets all of Arkray’s rigorous design and performance standards. And we can offer it at a price point that will make it an ideal solution for our customers to use in competitive bidding.”
The new Glucocard Vital meter and strip platform is highly accurate, auto-coded, requires only 0.5 microliter of blood, holds 250 dowloadable tests in its memory and has a glucose oxydase strip chemistry that is not affected by interferences that cause testing errors in other common test strips.
The Vital, along with all Glucocard brands, is backed by Arkray’s unique YouChoose wellness program, a comprehensive education and support system that includes printed tools, videos, recipes and an integrated Web site designed to help patients manage their diabetes.