News

February 1, 2006

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe

Pharmaceutical Technology Europe, Pharmaceutical Technology Europe-02-01-2006, Volume 18, Issue 2

Chewing gum is being developed by Generex as an alternative buccal drug delivery method of metformin for treating diabetes. Results from a small clinical trial, which compared pharmacokinetic profiles of metformin gum with its traditional tablet form, suggest that the gum could additionally avoid the significant adverse gastrointestinal side-effects, including diarrhoea and nausea/vomiting, often accompanying the use of metformin tablets. Given that approximately 30% of metformin users experience such unwanted effects, the gum version could improve patient compliance.

Gum to replace needles?

Alternative drug delivery method to treat diabetes

Chewing gum is being developed by Generex as an alternative buccal drug delivery method of metformin for treating diabetes. Results from a small clinical trial, which compared pharmacokinetic profiles of metformin gum with its traditional tablet form, suggest that the gum could additionally avoid the significant adverse gastrointestinal side-effects, including diarrhoea and nausea/vomiting, often accompanying the use of metformin tablets. Given that approximately 30% of metformin users experience such unwanted effects, the gum version could improve patient compliance.

The company is developing the product as a companion to Oral-lyn, its proprietary oral insulin spray product, which is reported to offer a safe, simple, fast and effective alternative to subcutaneous injections of prandial insulin.

Metformin is currently used to treat Type 2 diabetes mellitus, particularly when incidental obesity and insulin resistance are present. Unlike the sulfonylurea class of glucose-lowering drug, metformin does not increase the concentration of insulin in the blood and, therefore, does not cause hypoglycemia (very low blood glucose levels), and does not cause weight gain. It is also used to prevent the development of diabetes in people at risk, to treat polycystic ovary syndrome and non-alcohol steatohepatitis (liver disease).

www.generex.com

Big pharma's early moves

The biotechnology industry has seen 2006 kick off with big pharma pushing its way in. Wyeth, which only recently collaborated with Prodenics and Exelixis, has now signed a deal with Trubion Pharmaceuticals regarding rheumatoid arthritis and cancer therapies. Meanwhile, AstraZeneca has agreed to work with Targacept on the latter's Phase II compound, TC-1734 for treating Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia. Similar to Wyeth, this is the third deal in as many weeks for AstraZenca, which has acquired KuDOS Pharmaceuticals and is helping to develop a drug with AtheroGenics.

Wyeth has set itself a target of generating 25% of its 2006 revenue from biopharm-based products. The company hopes to achieve this by focusing on deals and partnerships to augment its business: "We are looking for the next generation of proteins or antibodies that would allow us to have unique discovery targets and enable us to go after the market to meet these unmet needs in a new way," commented Cavan Redmond, executive vice president for Wyeth's biopharmaceuticals business. Working with Trubion provides the pharma heavyweight access to the biotech's small immunopharmaceutical technology, an alternative to monoclonal and recombinant antibodies. Both deals reinforce the trend for pharmaceutical companies realizing that to increase their pipeline, they need to work with biotech.

www.wyeth.com

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