Despite advances made in "sustained delivery" drug delivery technologies in recent years, a problem still persists in trying to obtain controlled release of a wide variety of medications that have only a "narrow absorption window" in the upper part of the intestines. That is, these drugs are absorbed rather quickly after being swallowed, negating the beneficial effects of "once-a-day" medication. Now, researchers at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy have developed a new technology, which they call Gastro-Retentive Dosage Form (GDRF), that "hangs" drugs in the stomach for an extended period. This is accomplished through a matrix consisting of a multilayer polymeric film that contains the active compound embedded in the polymer, surrounded by a rigid frame.
The matrix is "folded" into a standard size gelatin capsule. After swallowing, the matrix "unfolds" itself. Because of its protective polymer coating, the drug remains in the stomach for an extended period, accompanied by a slow and steady release, rather than being absorbed quickly.
The technology can serve as a platform to entrap large amounts of a variety of active agents and drugs containing difference physiochemical properties. It has especial significance for various drugs – including those that treat AIDS, as well as cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders – for which a steady level of medication dosage is critical.
For their work in developing the technology, Prof. Amnon Hoffman and Prof. Michael Friedman of the Department of Pharmaceutics at the Hebrew University School of Pharmacy and Dr. Eran Lavy of the Hebrew University Koret School of Veterinary Medicine have been named as winners of the Kaye Award for Innovations, to be presented on June 8 at the 67th meeting of the university ’s Board of Governors.
The technology has been patented through the Hebrew University’s Yissum Technology Transfer Company, and initial steps towards commercial development are under way at the Intec-Pharma startup company in Jerusalem’s Har Hachotzvim high-tech industrial area.
The Kaye Innovation Awards have been given annually since 1994. Isaac Kaye of England, a prominent industrialist in the pharmaceutical industry, established the awards to encourage faculty, staff, and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential which will benefit the university and society.