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MedPharm Ltd Aims To Soften Nail Absorbtion Problems

10/19/2005 5:13:16 PM

New BBSRC funding to help develop novel delivery systems for $1billion ungual drug market

Lyon, April 14: MedPharm today announced at the BioSquare Conference that it is to launch a new program aimed at providing novel topical delivery systems for ungual (nail) drugs. The work is boosted by the award of a grant from the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) which recognises the UK company's leading work in this growing $1 billion market for primarily treating onychomyosis and nail psoriasis.

Onychomyosis is the most prevalent disorder of the nail affecting up to 10% of the general population. Whilst oral therapeutics are effective, their toxicity is reported to often have intolerable side effects. According to MedPharm CEO Andrew Muddle, this has led to problems with patient acceptance and a corresponding reluctance from physicians to prescribe even mild oral treatments. "Nail fungus is a major problem and is on the increase. If left untreated the condition can result in some serious health problems, especially in diabetics and immune suppressed individuals. We believe ungual delivery using drug containing nail lacquers is a much more acceptable form of treatment. This involves brushing the lacquers on to the nail plate to form a film from which drug is released to penetrate the nail. The problem is the excellent barrier properties of nail keratin. Currently drugs can only be applied chronically this way leading to both ineffectiveness - with success rates as low as 10% - and thus again poor patient compliance. Our MedNail research project is now focussing on ways of improving this penetration through novel formulations and application techniques."

MedPharm has already developed unique in vitro nail formulation testing models and it was this expertise that lead to the BBSRC grant. This follows a highly successful year for MedPharm which to date has primarily drawn revenues as a contract testing provider. Now, however, the company has identified a number of drug delivery projects it intends to develop either itself or in conjunction with partners. "The first of these was our nasal sedative formulation collaboration with bi-directional nasal delivery specialists OptiNose. The ungual project is due to be followed by a third project in the second half of this year. We expect results from the ungual delivery project early next year. If successful we believe the ready availability of more easily tolerated and effective drugs will win widespread patient and physician approval" concludes Dr. Muddle.


Notes to editors:

MedPharm is a leading worldwide, topical contract services pharmaceutical development company with headquarters in Oxfordshire. Its principal laboratory facility is located in London and cGMP manufacturing for clinical trial supplies in Scotland. MedPharm is focused on the development of products for partners for local indications, using know-how and its extensive range of proprietary drug delivery technologies to the skin, mucous membranes, nose and lung. MedPharm offers a unique and highly specialised service in the area of pharmaceutical contract research and development. Capabilities comprise analytical, formulation, and in-vitro testing work and the project scope can range from simple feasibility tests to the preparation of clinical supplies for Phase I/II trials and technology transfers to manufacturing sites. MedPharm has a range of partners from large pharmaceutical to small biotechnology companies who require tailored solutions during the development of their products. Additionally, MedPharm is actively developing its own proprietary drug delivery technologies in the topical and pulmonary fields which can be made available to third parties on a 'Licensing and Technology Transfer' basis.

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