Lipoxen to Develop Improved Delivery of Antiviral Drugs for the Treatment of Liver Disease Caused by Hepatitis C
News Nov 04, 2008
Lipoxen PLC, announced that it has entered into a research agreement with the University of Nottingham to develop new enhanced fomulations of antiviral drugs for the treatment of important liver diseases such as viral hepatitis which is caused by hepatitis C (HCV). The two parties will use novel proprietary formulations based on liposome and nanoparticle delivery in order to achieve enhanced therapeutic effects by delivering the drugs directly to the liver. This approach is also expected to reduce the toxicity of anitviral drugs used to treat liver disease by limiting their uptake by other tissues and by red blood cells (erythrocytes). This project is receiving funding from the East Midlands' bioKneX Industrial Partnership Scheme. Other financial details were not disclosed.
Hepatitis, due to hepatitis C virus infection, is a growing problem already affecting 150-200 million people worldwide. In recent years the pharmaceutical industry has invested considerable sums in attempts to develop new drugs for hepatitis C, but unfortunately nearly all of these drugs have failed in clinical development, or have met with only limited commercial success, mainly due to systemic toxicity.
Lipoxen and Nottingham University's present project is designed to address the systemic toxicity of anti-hepatitis C drugs, which limits the dose at which they can be administered and thereby compromises their efficacy, by engineering their selective delivery to the liver using nanoparticles. By improving delivery of the drug to the affected organ, the project seeks to greatly improve the efficacy of anti-hepatitis C drugs by allowing them to be given at higher (i.e. more effective) doses by limiting their systemic toxicity.
The two parties will initially work on developing a new proprietary "super generic" formulation of ribavirin, the most commonly used antiviral drug to treat viral hepatitis. This commercially attractive product, which will be based on liposome or nanoparticle delivery, will be able to be used in combination with PEG-IFN (pegylated - interferon). Ribavirin, in combination with PEG-IFN, is the most commonly used treatment regime for viral hepatitis globally.
Once this has been achieved the two parties intend to look at improving the delivery of other antiviral drugs for the treatment of hepatitis C that have failed to reach the market due to problems which could potentially be resolved by this novel formulation technology. Failed anti-hepatitis C drugs include development candidates from, amongst others, GlaxoSmithKline Boehringer Ingelheim and Wyeth.
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