Some patients fear injections so much that they avoid getting proper medical treatment, sometimes with life-threatening results. Transdermal patches, which administer drugs through the skin, could make the bite of the needle a mere unpleasant memory. One company having success in this area is Pantec Biosolutions. The European company reported excellent results in a Phase I clinical trial of a triptorelin patch used in conjunction with their proprietary laser device. The peptide hormone triptorelin is injected daily for a month in the first phase of in vitro fertilization. Triptorelin is also used to treat prostate cancer, endometriosis, and precocious puberty.
Due to its large molecular weight, triptorelin cannot permeate the skin. Pantec circumvented this obstacle by using the company’s P.L.E.A.S.E. (Painless Laser Epidermal System) device to microporate the skin’s outer layer. The laser created microchannels in the skin, allowing the triptorelin to enter the body through a patch. Results of the study, which was performed on healthy male volunteers, showed that serum levels of triptorelin exceeded those required for therapeutic effect. There were no reports of adverse reactions among volunteers.
Other companies working in the field of transdermal drug delivery include Acrux, which recently completed enrollment in Phase III clinical trials of its testosterone product. Agile Therapeutics and Lohmann Therapy Systems are both working on women’s health products. Another company, Vyteris Holdings, has inked a deal with Zealand Pharma to develop a transdermal peptide-drug delivery system. Massachusetts-based Echo Therapeutics is developing a needle-free glucose monitoring system.