Release Date: 26-May-2023
Conventional drug delivery methods such as oral and intravenous infusions have been popular modes of drug delivery and have helped patients for a long time. However, these methods have proven to be ineffective when dealing with certain subsets of people like those suffering from certain diseases or the older population. Therefore, it became important to find novel methods of drug delivery that could be used in patients regardless of any deterring factors and as a result, these medications are now being formulated for controlled delivery. In this regard, formulations that release the drug at a controlled interval or those which target specific areas of the body have gained interest exponentially. The ease of access, application and administration of these formulations has been helping the market to thrive and will continue doing so in the future as well.
While a number of companies have developed new drugs as controlled drug release formulations, some companies have opted to re-develop their existing drugs as controlled release formulations, which has helped them in maintaining their position in the global pharmaceutical market amidst growing competition from generic drug developers. For instance, Teva Pharmaceuticals recently announced the FDA approval of a new formulation of its product Austedo (deutetrabenazine). Austedo is currently approved for the treatment of chorea associated with Huntington’s disease; however, the new extended release (Austedo XR) formulation has a new indication named tardive dyskinesia (TD) added to its list of treatable indications. Austedo XR is an improved version of Austedo as in it is a once-daily formulation compared to the latter’s twice daily dosage.
Apart from Austedo XR, several other new formulations of existing drugs have been released in the last year, which has given the market a boost in terms of market interest and shares. The indications for these were very broad-ranged, including depression, hypertension, nasal and sinus congestion, bladder problems and epilepsy. In this regard, Indian pharmaceutical companies such as Dr Reddys, Zydus and Lupin Pharma were in the headlines for several of these drugs as developers of generic versions of the most effective drugs in the market. Though more complex in nature because of the mechanisms to control its release in the body, controlled release versions of drugs have been seen to be less expensive than their regular versions, which helps their market penetration in countries of the emerging regions. This mainly comes from the expenses saved in discovering the drug and the clinical trials required to prove its efficacy.
Many improvements have been made in the delivery process of next generation controlled release drugs. The use of niosomes instead of liposomes as drug carriers is one such approach that was suggested over a decade ago but has been gaining attention only now. Niosomes are more stable then liposomes and have enhanced properties that make them more suitable as nanocarriers in a transdermal drug delivery system. Though the mechanism by which niosomes penetrate the skin are largely, unknown many hypothesis have been suggested. In order to exploit their potential as a next generation drug delivery vehicle, niosomes require more assessment in preclinical and clinical landscapes.
With the domain of controlled drug release gaining attention in the recent years, many collaborations have come to light. In February 2023, US-based Celanese announced a collaboration with the Department of Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins University for a study on sustained drug delivery to the suprachoroidal space in the eye. Celanese plans to use its proprietary VitalDose drug delivery platform for this. The current standard of treatment for retinal disorders involves frequent ocular injections given by the physician. However, through the collaboration, the companies plan to develop a bioinert implant, which will provide sustained ocular drug delivery lasting longer than six months, helping in reducing the treatment burden on the patients.
For a number of reasons concerning the patients’ comfort and treatment costs, controlled drug delivery has emerged as a field that has been gaining a lot of attention in the recent years. Along the with presence of many global market players such as Overseas Pharmaceuticals, HengRui Medicine, Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare and Ouyi Pharmaceutical, many other favorable market factors are fueling market growth of controlled drug release formulations.