Absorption Systems, a leader in preclinical contract testing of drugs, biologics, and medical devices, announces that it has been subcontracted by the German pharmaceutical company Merck KGaA to work on a new pediatric formulation of praziquantel. Merck was awarded a grant for this project by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium.
The objective of the project is to develop and register a new pediatric formulation of the antiparasitic drug praziquantel, recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of schistosomiasis. The disease affects more than 240 million people worldwide, many of them children in developing countries. An estimated tens of thousands of deaths per year are attributed to the condition, making it third only to malaria and soil-transmitted helminthiasis in terms of impact among parasitic diseases.
For its part, Absorption Systems is determining the permeability classification of praziquantel according to the Biopharmaceutics Classification System (BCS). While this can be done through clinical testing in human volunteers or patients, Absorption Systems does it in the laboratory, using its validated in vitro test system. Its many years of experience performing this type of testing on hundreds of different drugs make Absorption Systems the world leader in BCS testing. The advantages of this approach are that it is faster and less expensive than a clinical trial, and provides more definitive classification. As a result, BCS testing accelerates the registration of life-saving drugs where they are needed most desperately.
"We are pleased that Merck recognized our expertise in the area of the BCS and chose to partner with us on this project," said Patrick Dentinger, President and CEO of Absorption Systems. "It is rewarding for our company to participate in such a project that will have an immediate and measureable impact on people's lives."