Recipharm partnered with US developer Synthonics last week, becoming the only European contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) to offer the technique -known as metal co-ordinated chemistry (MCC) - to its customers.
MCC - as Synthonics CEO Ken Slepicka told in-Pharmatechnologist.com - involves attaching a minute quantity of a pharmaceutically acceptable metal, such as zinc, bismuth or magnesium, to an API to create particle with more favouable delivery characteristics.
"Attaching or chelating a metal creates a complex with different characteristics such as the ability to pass through water-based or fatty environments."
Slepicka explained that varying the metals and adjuvants used and the manner in which they are attached allows formulators to “dial in” the desired pharmacokinetics, citing improved solubility as an example.
"We can enhance absorption of a relatively insoluble agent by using metal coordination to improve its solubility in water while maintaining the solubility in oils necessary to permit efficient passage from the digestive tract to the bloodstream and the target cell."
Metals can also enable more precising targeting according to Slepicka, suggesting that "metal coordination can impart bioadhesive properties to extend the release or to prevent the systemic absorption of drugs and can be used to support alternate means of drug delivery."
New Technologies that help drugs hit their targets are in high demand in the pharmaceutical industry, particularly among companies developing potent cancer medications or large molecule-based therapies.
One of the highest profile of these approaches is to combine a drug active with a targeting antibody to create an antibody drug conjugate (ADC) which, despite being used in few marketing products to date, has attracted investment from a number of CMOs in recent years.
Synthonics' technology is analgous to the ADC model, however it differs in that it allows for more flexable drug formulations if the optimum stability conditions can be found according to Recipharm.
"ADCs typically require some kind of organic linker between the antibody and the drug. The difference between MCCs and ADCs are that MCCs are designed to replace the cleavable organic linker with an inorganic linker.
"The advantage of doing that is that the antibody and the drug are more readily cleaved and the incorporation of additional performance enhancers such as cell penetrants is facilitated. The potential disadvantage is that titrating the optimal stability of an inorganic linker will be challenging."