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Companies Join Forces to Advance Drug Delivery via Biodegradable Polymers

Originally Published MPMN September 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Companies Join Forces to Advance Drug Delivery via Biodegradable Polymers

Corinne Litchfield

Site-specific drug delivery is made possible by using biodegradable polymers to surface coat medical devices, such as the drug-eluting stent shown at right. An uncoated stent is shown on the left.

From dissolving sutures to orthopedic implants, the use of biodegradable polymers in medical devices has surged in the past 30 years. Current applications include devices that not only deliver medication to a specific area but that are also resorbed by the body over time. SurModics Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN; www.surmodics.com), a provider of surface-modification and drug-delivery solutions, has obtained an option to acquire an exclusive license from OctoPlus (Leiden, Netherlands; www.octoplus.nl) for two classes of biodegradable polymers. "Our customers are increasingly interested in exploring the use of biodegradable polymers for site-specific drug delivery--whether as coatings on medical devices, or as devices that are fully biodegradable," says Bruce Barclay, president and COO of SurModics. 

With the addition of OctoPlus's products, SurModics has five distinct families of polymers for use in site-specific drug delivery. The two polymer classes from OctoPlus, known as PolyActive and OctoDEX, now join SurModics's previously announced Bravo, Encore, and Accolade lines. SurModics's Bravo polymer matrix is already in use in the drug-eluting stent marketplace. It is also used in an ophthalmic drug-delivery system under development at InnoRx Inc. "We believe [PolyActive and OctoDEX] have the ability to demonstrate both excellent mechanical properties and tunable drug elution as a medical device alone or from the surface of medical devices," states Barclay. 

"We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with SurModics, a well-established player in the medical devices arena," says Dr. Joost Holthuis, CEO of OctoPlus. "This partnership strongly complements our activities in developing state-of-the-art controlled-release drug-delivery systems. By combining the strengths of our two companies, we will maximize the scientific and commercial potential of our proprietary biodegradable polymers in the rapidly growing drug-eluting medical devices field."

PolyActive and OctoDEX are currently under clinical and preclinical evaluation by OctoPlus for use as pharmaceutical formulations. PolyActive, a biodegradable multiblock polymeric drug-delivery system, has been used in two FDA-approved products. Its biodegradability, safety record, and tunable release properties make it suitable for the controlled release of proteins and hydrophobic small-molecule drugs. OctoDEX is a delivery system for the controlled release of proteins and large particles such as liposomes and antigens. Both PolyActive and OctoDEX have undergone extensive safety testing. Further, OctoPlus has demonstrated that these polymers can be made into durable films. Applied to medical devices, they can be used to deliver large and small molecules with tunable elution rates and varying linear- or pulse-release profiles. 

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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