ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN, February 17, 2017—TSRL, Inc., announced today that the company was awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). TSRL will receive approximately $600,000 over the next two years for the development of a transdermal delivery system of zanamivir (GSK, Relenza®), an inhalation drug product used in the treatment of influenza A & B. This grant, awarded in collaboration with Dr. Audra Stinchcomb’s team at F6 Pharma, explores microneedle delivery strategies of formulations that optimize solubility and absorption of zanamivir through the skin. In addition, TSRL will be accessing NIAID’s preclinical services for pharmacology testing of the transdermal formulation.
“We are very excited to work with F6 Pharma on developing new treatment options for influenza,” said Dr. Elke Lipka, President of TSRL. “This partnership allows us to develop patient-friendly patches that enable broader adoption of zanamivir for treatment of the flu.”
Influenza, or “the flu,” is caused by RNA viruses of the family orthomyxoviridae. It infects birds and mammals and spreads worldwide during seasonal epidemics that result in over 500,000 deaths every year. Although they are the most commonly prescribed class of anti-influenza drugs, neuraminidase inhibitors (NIs) are not very effective when taken orally. Only one NI—oseltamivir (Roche, Tamiflu®)—has been developed as a pill, while zanamivir is currently administered via inhaler, which can be challenging for some patient groups, especially the elderly, children, and patients with pulmonary impairments, who are highly susceptible to the flu.
Transdermal delivery systems offer a number of improvements over current treatment options. First, microneedle patches do not require digestion, eliminating oral side effects. Second, permeation through the skin allows the drug to enter systemic circulation directly and avoid absorption and immediate metabolism by the liver. Third, transdermal delivery avoids skin puncture by syringe needles, eliminating pain and patient visits to a physician.
About TSRL, Inc.:
TSRL, Inc. is a privately held preclinical accelerator developing novel anti-infective therapeutics in areas of high unmet medical need. More information about TSRL, Inc. is available on the company website http://www.tsrlinc.com or can be requested by contacting Andrew Hertig, Marketing & Business Development Manager, 734-663-4233 x224, ahertig(at)tsrlinc(dot)com.
About F6 Pharma:
F6 Pharma, Inc. is a privately held drug delivery company founded by Dr. Audra Stinchcomb, Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, to commercialize microneedle delivery technologies. More information about F6 Pharma, Inc. is available by contacting Dr. Audra Stinchcomb at audra(at)f6pharma(dot)com.