Denmark-based LEO Pharma announced an expansion of its existing partnership agreement with Elektrofi, a company founded by MIT alumni, which focuses on creating drug formulations suitable for injection.
The partnership, signed in 2017, aimed to develop more convenient therapeutic delivery systems for patients with skin diseases, with the use of Elektroject technology.
The agreement now includes a pre-negotiated license for the potentially improved antibodies in the pre-clinical and clinical stage.
Elektroject is a microparticle suspension system, which enables high concentration but low viscosity in antibody formulations, allowing them to be formulated into injections for subcutaneous intake.
Elektrofi’s co-founder, Jason Norris stated there has been a continued shift in the biopharma industry to subcutaneous administration, as it makes the intake process easier and faster.
“Many monoclonal antibodies are administered to the patient via intravenous infusion that takes anywhere between 30 minutes and 10 hours. Subcutaneous administration takes that multi-hour infusion time to seconds, which is a massive time saving for patients”, Norris told us.
Norris explained that the company plans for the technology to eventually enable home administration – at present, patients have to go through the treatment process in an infusion centre.
In addition, Elektrofi’s technology allows higher active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) loading capabilities in each injection, providing the manufacturers with more flexibility to increase efficacy.
The two partners are planning to co-develop two specific antibodies, though we were told the dermatological diseases targeted cannot yet be specified.
LEO’s expanding patient base
LEO possesses a portfolio of treatments for dermatological conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema, for a patient population of 80 million per year.
In August 2018, LEO acquired Bayer’s prescription dermatology unit in order to expand their treatment area, and the company told us at the time that it is taking steps to become the leading dermatology drug maker globally by 2025.
Four months later, the company moved on to a drug development partnership with Evotec, gaining access to its high-value identification platform.