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The blood retinal barrier (BRB), and the blood brain barrier (BBB), represent a significant impediment to drug delivery to the eye and the brain, respectively. This lack of drug penetration has resulted in diseases, such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Alzheimer's Disease and Stroke being extremely difficult to address.
Although therapies to eye disease such as AMD already exist, they are delivered by intraocular injections with high risk of side effects related to the administration, the most significant being retinal detachment. The current challenge is to develop drug-delivery systems that ensure transitions across these barriers in a safe and effective manner.
<h2>The Technology and its Advantages</h2>
Researchers at UCL Institute of Ophthalmology developed a nanotechnology which enables delivery of biopharmaceuticals and small molecules across the BBB and BRB. The contents of the delivery system can be customised to maximise encapsulation and pharmacokinetics of the cargo therapeutic molecules for different indications and target tissues. This technology may be used for a variety of administration methods, including intravenous, intra-nasal, transdermal and topical application. This unique drug delivery system provides a solution to a previously unmet medical need, enabling drugs to cross the BBB and BRB.
Using this approach, UCL researchers have shown successful delivery of Avastin to the back of the eye in vivo when administered topically. Avastin (149kD) is currently delivered to the eye of patients with AMD by intraocular injections with the method causing many side effects, the most significant being retinal detachment.
Ocular anti-noevascularisation preparations, used for the treatment of wet AMD, accounted for $2.5M in sales in 2013 and are estimated to reach $5.5M in 2023.
In the pharmaceutical market, monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) are forecast to be the strongest performing molecule type, delivering a predicted six year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% over 2009-15, outpacing the growth rates of small molecules, therapeutic proteins and vaccines. Additionally, MAbs are expected to provide the biggest portion of absolute sales growth (Datamonitor 2010). Novel drug delivery methods and increasingly being sought for such therapies.
<h2>Intellectual Property Status</h2>
Patent pending (WO2010109212)
Davis et al., 2014, Small, 10:8;1575-1584.
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