Glaucoma has an adherence problem. Drugs that are highly efficacious are far less than optimally effective because patients fail to take eye drops properly or don’t take them all. Novel drug-delivery technologies could improve adherence and outcomes.
“In glaucoma, the only delivery method we have seen is the eye drop,” said L. Jay Katz, MD, professor of ophthalmology, Thomas Jefferson University; director of Glaucoma Service, Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia. “We have to work on different types of technologies, new molecules, new systems to create better ways of getting drugs to the appropriate structures of the eye that will change the course of glaucoma.”
Katz co-moderated an overview of “New Horizons in Drug Delivery” as part of the New Horizons Forum at the 2017 Glaucoma 360 meeting with Cheryl Rowe-Rendleman, PhD, CEO and managing consultant, Omar Consulting Group. The session highlighted six companies developing new drug delivery systems.
Envisia Therapeutics has leveraged 3-D printing technology developed in the microelectronics industry to create customized delivery vehicles for prostaglandins and other ophthalmic agents. The company’s PRINT technology produces sheets of biodegradable nanometer-scale containers that can be injected intracamerally to provide prostaglandin efficacy 24/7 for up to six months from a single dose.
“Think of it as nanotechnology meets formulation science,” said Benjamin Yerxa, PhD, president. “We can dial in the precise performance attributes needed for an agent that is very transferable to a commercial manufacturing environment.”
Phase II studies with travoprost show intraocular pressure (IOP) lowering similar to travoprost ophthalmic solution 0.004% (Travatan Z, Alcon Laboratories). There have been no serious adverse events over 11 months of an ongoing safety trial and less hyperemia than topical prostaglandin analogues.
The same biodegradable delivery vehicle shows linear release of dexamethasone for diabetic macular edema over 6 months. Another project shows good results with 90-day extended release of aflibercept (Eylea, Regeneron).
“Back of the eye extended release for large and small molecules is becoming reality,” Yerxa said.