Missed drug dosses are not only risky to concerned patients, but to the global healthcare system as a whole. So drug companies are looking to new delivery methods, even extending to aspirin.
Companies developing diagnostics and medical advances in novel drug delivery include Boston Scientific Corp. (NYSE: BSX), Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX), Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX), and Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF ) (TSX.V: AQS).
The drug companies looking to provide answers in this area have seen very positive growth this year, with the leaders taking new steps to innovate around research, which appears to paying off. The large companies getting attention from analysts and from peers, while one small company is looking to bring innovation to the marketplace.
Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF) (TSX.V: AQS) is a pharmaceutical company advancing novel delivery and a product pipeline with two significant partnerships; Supernus Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SUPN), for the in-license Canadian rights to Supernus’s two epilepsy medicines, Topiramate XR, and Oxcarbazepine, and a separate deal with Corium International (NASDAQ: CORI).
Major companies on a path of positive momentum despite the upheaval in the US healthcare system are Axsome Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM), which develops therapies for the management of central nervous system (CNS) disorders; Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX), which makes medical equipment like dialysis machines and infusion systems; along with Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX) that makes supplies like needles, syringes and catheters.
THE NEW PATH FOR DELIVERY
Over the past few years, autonomous drug delivery systems, which eliminate patient dosage error due to forgetting and misuse, have advanced significantly.
The technology comes in many different forms and can be placed either externally or inside the body. Transdermal patches, which are placed on the skin and release drugs into the body, are some of the most prominent drug delivery systems.
In one of the most promising breakthroughs involving transdermal drug delivery, a team of researchers at the Indian Institute of Science has come up with a new compound that is designed to gradually release aspirin inside the body to fit various dosage regimes.
The new compound has several advantages over existing mechanisms since it does not harm living cells and has a higher carrying capacity of the drug. The loaded compound can also be easily injected into the body.
Pills and patches, which are commonly used for aspirin delivery, have aspirin embedded inside a mesh or capsule. However, in this new compound, the drug is built directly into the structure of a long polymer chain based on a sugar molecule called xylitol. When the chemical reaches the body, it is broken down by enzymes and the drug gets released into the bloodstream. The molecule occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables and is commonly used as a sweetener.
In pills, the drug gets released all at once, but this molecule breaks down slowly and can circulate the drug longer for a more prolonged action. As such, it can cover a longer dosage period which would require ingesting the drug many times.
This slow release mechanism is a key quality that scientists have been using to develop novel drug delivery systems. Like the current system, large polymers are critical to the functioning of these systems.
AEQUUS RAISES THE BAR ON DELIVERY
Aequus Pharmaceuticals is a junior pharmaceutical company with a like technology for transdermal delivery systems leading its growth.
Among the eight ongoing product programs in Aequus’s portfolio, four utilize a transdermal delivery system: AQS1301 (Transdermal Aripiprazole); AQS1302 (Transdermal Clobazam); AQS1303 (Transdermal Pyridoxine/Doxylamine); and AQS1304 (Transdermal Medical Cannabis).
By utilizing a patch, patients can have higher confidence in their dosages, especially with drugs that require multiple dose times during the day. A patient tied to the clock, over and over during the day, is much more susceptible to missing a dosage, and likely reducing the effectiveness of their medicine.
In the case of AQS1303, the transdermal form aims to replace a medication that is normally taken orally—up to four times a day.
Both AQS1301 and AQS1302 could be very important to their patients, as they both deal with neurological disorders that depend heavily on dosage consistency (schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, and epilepsy).
NEW DELIVERY ADVANCING
Slow-release systems are particularly useful in delivery of aspirin, with research having shown that gradual release of the drug is more beneficial than rapid release in terms of side effects and core effectiveness towards targeted symptoms.
Aside from high drug-carrying capacity and non-toxicity, drug delivery polymers should ideally be biodegradable. Xylitol is highly biodegradable and its by products do not interfere with aspirin action.
This is true for other drugs too.
In early versions of xylitol-based systems, the mesh-like structures on which the drug was trapped were had to dissolve and inject hence had to be introduced surgically into the body. In the current model, scientists modified the molecule to form long straight chains to change to reaction conditions, making it dissolve easily into a gel that can be injected into the body.
Researchers say the new system can stay in the body for a number of weeks which means the patient does not have to keep taking pills or injections periodically.
Medical experts see great promise in this and other novel drug delivery systems, including the delivery of sensitive medication such as antibiotics. By eliminating patient error, these systems can help to reduce adverse effects of poor dosage adherence such as drug resistance and lowered effectiveness of the drug.
The leaders in the pharmaceutical field are moving quickly to adopt these effective new measures, and others like Aequus Pharmaceuticals, are already adding important contributions, including treatments for Central Nervous System disorders -a market that’s expected to reach nearly $130 billion by 2025.
Axsome Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: AXSM)
Axsome develops therapies for the management of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The company’s product candidates include AXS-05 that is in Phase III trial for the treatment of treatment resistant depression and Alzheimer’s disease agitation; and AXS-02, which is in Phase III trial to treat complex regional pain syndrome, knee osteoarthritis related to bone marrow lesions, and chronic low back pain related to Modic changes. It is also developing AXS-06, a preclinical product candidate for CNS disorders, including chronic pain.
Baxter International, Inc. (NYSE: BAX)
Baxter International Inc. provides a portfolio of renal and hospital products. The company operates through two segments, Hospital Products and Renal. The Hospital Products segment manufactures intravenous (IV) solutions and administration sets, premixed drugs and drug-reconstitution systems, pre-filled vials and syringes for injectable drugs, IV nutrition products, parenteral nutrition therapies, infusion pumps, inhalation anesthetics, and biosurgery products. This segment also provides products and services related to pharmacy compounding, drug formulation, and packaging technologies. The Renal segment provides products to treat end-stage renal disease, irreversible kidney failure, and acute kidney therapies. The company sells its products for use in hospitals, kidney dialysis centers, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices, and by patients at home under physician supervision.
Becton, Dickinson and Co. (NYSE: BDX)
Becton, Dickinson and Company develops, manufactures, and sells medical supplies, devices, laboratory equipment, and diagnostic products worldwide. It operates in two segments, BD Medical and BD Life Sciences. The company markets its products through independent distribution channels and sales representatives to healthcare institutions, life science researchers, clinical laboratories, pharmaceutical industry, and general public. It has a strategic collaboration with FlowJo, LLC. Becton, Dickinson and Company was founded in 1897 and is headquartered in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey.
For a more in-depth look into AQS you can view the in-depth report at USA News Group: http://usanewsgroup.com/2017/12/03/cns-therapeutics-market-worth-128-9-billion-by-2025-cagr-5-9/
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