Novagali technologies allow greater drug access to the posterior of the eye

March 25, 2009

According to research analysts it is estimated that as little as five percent of a topically applied drug ever reaches the intraocular tissues due to drug loss as the result of tearing, lacrimal fluid-eye barriers, and blood-ocular barriers.

According to research analysts it is estimated that as little as five percent of a topically applied drug ever reaches the intraocular tissues due to drug loss as the result of tearing, lacrimal fluid-eye barriers, and blood-ocular barriers. These beneficial natural defences, which protect the eyes and block foreign substances, also greatly limit the usefulness of topical treatments for treating them when distressed or diseased. This is true, in particular, for diseases of the posterior of the eye.

Researchers Frost & Sullivan recently conducted an analysis of the ocular drug delivery market and have recognized Novagali Pharma for its two proprietary emulsion technology platforms, Novasorb and Eyeject.  Novagali was given the 2009 Industry Innovation & Advancement of the Year Award.

"Novagali is working diligently with its proprietary emulsion technologies to overcome both pharmacological and drug delivery challenges in the eye," says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Misty Hughes. "With research truly encompassing all segments of the eye, Novagali's Novasorb is optimized to treat a number of diseases by improving drug delivery to the front of the eye, while the minimally-invasive Eyeject intra-ocular platform offers improvements over existing implant technology in treating challenging diseases of the eye's posterior."

Dispersion and lubrication often limit effective treatment of surface ocular conditions. Novasorb is a cationic emulsion technology platform being investigated to treat dry eye, glaucoma, allergies, and anterior uveitis. It works by increasing the absorption and efficacy of drugs in ocular tissues through electrostatic attraction between the positive charge of the therapeutic emulsion and the eye's negatively charged mucous, cornea, and conjunctiva. The electrostatic attraction and colloidal properties that increase therapeutic residence time on the eye's anterior also benefit the eye's posterior. Increased contact and penetration into the cornea and conjunctiva allows for more of the drug to diffuse to the anterior segment as well.

Novagali has expanded its novel emulsion technology platform to also treat serious diseases of the back of the eye. Eyeject is an intraocular delivery platform that offers a minimally-invasive alternative to ocular implants for treating disease in the eye's posterior. The injectable emulsion provides a prolonged, controlled release of medication at the retina and choroid, yet can easily be administered in a non-surgical setting. Eyeject is an organic, solvent- and preservative-free emulsion that includes only ophthalmically biocompatible excipients. Novagali is investigating Eyeject's use in treating a number of posterior ophthalmic diseases, including macular oedema and diabetic retinopathy.

Novagali's broad research portfolio includes seven compounds that utilize Novasorb or Eyeject technology to treat not only common eye conditions, but orphan diseases as well. Commercialized for sale in France in April 2008 and with an expected US launch, Cationorm, an over-the-counter (OTC) dry eye treatment developed on the basis of Novasorb technology, is the company's first product from its pipeline to reach the market. The company's other lead drug candidates in development in the US include Cyclokat (NOVA22007), a Novasorb-based therapy in Phase III trials for moderate-to-severe dry eye, and Cortiject (NOVA63035), a corticosteroid formulated with Eyeject technology that is in Phase I trials for diabetic macular oedema.

"The development of new products that operate through novel mechanisms of action is vital to future advancements in ocular drug delivery," stresses Hughes. "Through focused research into novel treatment modalities in ophthalmics, Novagali Pharma's proprietary technology platforms are set to greatly benefit both patients and healthcare practitioners in the near future."