Market Overview

Drug Makers use Nanotechnology to Improve Delivery and Dosing


LOS ANGELES, March 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --

FN Media Group Presents USA News Group News Commentary 

In order to advance the delivery of specialized medicines and dosage, scientists are looking to improvements including Nanotechnology as part of the new vanguard of autonomous drug delivery technologies.

Companies looking to advance new drug delivery innovations include Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT), Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE), and Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF) (TSX.V: AQS).

Breakthroughs being forwarded in nanotechnology are signalling new opportunities for pharmaceutical companies who are planning to use nano-carriers which help to deliver the dose to a specific part of the body and release it in predetermined concentrations.

Leaders advancing the approach to drug delivery include Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT), that manufactures and sells device-based medical therapies, Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT), which makes diagnostic devices and branded generic pharmaceuticals; along with and Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE).

Another innovator, Aequus Pharmaceuticals (OTC: AQSZF) (TSXV: AQS), is a pharmaceutical developer 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).


Poor management of drug dosing by patients poses one of the most serious challenges to healthcare across the globe. Not only does it affect medication outcomes, it contributes to increase in drug resistance creating ever more powerful pathogen strains.

In order to help patients stick to their prescribed dosage, scientists are working on various autonomous drug delivery technologies that eliminate chances of patient error almost entirely. Nanotechnology is about to become a serious factor in this emerging field.

In the nanotechnology approach, the drug is encapsulated in a nano-carrier which helps to deliver the dose to a specific part of the body and release it in predetermined concentrations.

One of the leading players in the nano-medicine race is the Center for Nanotechnology in Drug Delivery (CNDD) at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

 The center, established in 2007, seeks to find new ways of improving safety and efficacy of new drugs through innovative drug delivery methods. It is divided into two main facilities: the Translational Nanoformulation Research Core Laboratory, and the Nanomedicines Characterization Core Facility.

The former promotes discovery of new drug candidates, and the latter facility promotes translation of new nanomedicines to advanced stages of trial.

The CNDD hopes to use nanotechnology in treating a wide range of conditions including cancer, neurological disorders and injuries. The technology can be used on both existing drug formulations and new drugs.

One approach used by developers is to encase existing drugs in nanomaterial such as liposome for more effective and accurate delivery.

According to Marina Sokolsky-Papkov , director of the Translational Nanoformulation Research Core Facility at the CNDD, nanoparticles usually accumulate more numerously at inflammation sites, which are often the sites of disease manifestation.

Inflammation causes blood vessels to dilate allowing nanoparticles bearing the drug to pass more easily than in normal tissue thus targeting problematic areas more effectively.

By increasing the concentration of the drug at the disease site, nanoformulations help to improve the efficacy of certain drugs. They also reduce the amount of side effects because targeted delivery reduces the amount of the drug that gets into general circulation within the body. They are also formulated to release the drug more steadily leading to lower exposure.


Other delivery methods are aiding the adoption of novel drug delivery and efficacy.

Aequus Pharmaceuticals is a junior pharmaceutical company that is forwarding novel delivery methods using transdermal delivery systems.

By utilizing a patch, patients can again 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.

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).

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).

Such early collaboration with its large partners has peaked interest in the approach being taken by Aequus Pharmaceuticals.


The application of nanotechnology in medicine does not end at drug delivery; it can also be used for diagnostic and imaging purposes.

In this area, the same technique is applied as in drug delivery, with an imaging agent being encapsulated in nanomaterial. The imaging material is delivered in higher concentrations to the inflamed area. The nanoparticles are then labelled to enable tracking using standard imaging techniques.

In MRI technology for example, the interaction between nanoparticles and the magnetic field and areas with higher concentrations appear darker on the image. By comparing the accumulation of nanoparticles before and after their introduction into the body, physicians are able to identify the disease.

Recently, pharmaceutical companies are seeing the incorporation of nanotechnology into their new drugs as a significant boost for their chances of gaining FDA approval. Companies are therefore increasing collaboration in research to improve preclinical and clinical outcomes.

Refining already existing technologies, such as drug delivery systems like the innovations at the CNDD and pharma innovators like Aequus Pharmaceuticals could yield new approaches with big benefits to personal healthcare and important improvements in global health.


Medtronic plc (NYSE: MDT)

Medtronic plc manufactures and sells device-based medical therapies to hospitals, physicians, clinicians, and patients worldwide. The company's Cardiac and Vascular Group segment offers implantable cardiac pacemakers, cardioverter defibrillators, and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices; diagnostics and monitoring devices; mechanical circulatory support, TYRX, and AF products; and remote monitoring and patient-centered software. It also provides transcatheter heart valves, percutaneous coronary intervention stents, surgical valve replacement and repair products, endovascular stent grafts, peripheral vascular products, and products to treat superficial and deep venous diseases. Its Minimally Invasive Therapies Group segment offers surgical care, wound closure, electrosurgical, hernia mechanical device, mesh implant, ablation, interventional lung, and care solutions. The company was founded in 1949 and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

Abbott Laboratories (NYSE: ABT)

Abbott Laboratories manufactures and sells health care products worldwide. The company's Established Pharmaceutical Products segment offers branded generic pharmaceuticals to treat pancreatic exocrine insufficiency; irritable bowel syndrome or biliary spasm; intrahepatic cholestasis or depressive symptoms; gynecological disorders among others. Its Diagnostic Products segment provides immunoassay and clinical chemistry systems; assays used to screen and/or diagnosis cancer, cardiac, drugs of abuse, fertility, infectious diseases, and therapeutic drug monitoring; hematology systems and reagents; and a suite of informatics tools and professional services. The company's Nutritional Products segment provides pediatric and adult nutritional products. The company was founded in 1888 and is headquartered in North Chicago, Illinois.

Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ZYNE)

Zynerba focuses on developing and commercializing proprietary synthetic cannabinoid therapeutics formulated for transdermal delivery. Its product candidates include ZYN002, which is in Phase II clinical trial for adult patients with refractory epileptic focal seizures and osteoarthritis, as well as pediatric patients with fragile X syndrome; and ZYN001 that is in preclinical stage for the treatment of fibromyalgia and peripheral neuropathic pain.

For a more in-depth look into AQS you can view the in-depth report at USA News Group:

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