With the growing problems caused by antimicrobial resistance, there is increased interest in the use of better strategies for drug delivery. David L. Hava, Ph.D., the chief scientific officer for Pulmatrix — a clinicial stage biopharma — wrote an article published in the journal ONdrugDelivery Magazine about the benefits of nebulized inhaled antibiotics delivered through high-throughput nebulizers for aqueous formulations or dry powder inhalations in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). The study is titled “Advances in pulmonary delivery of inhaled anti-infectives.”
Hava writes that to fight these lung infections, companies have developed new approaches for delivering antifungals and antibiotics directly to the lungs, such as liquid antibiotics that are turned into a mist using a jet nebulizer, which is then inhaled by the patient.
Within this class of nebulizers, Hava noted that Novartis AG has developed an inhaled version of tobramycin, and Gilead has a product with another antibiotic called aztreonam. Other drugs are currently in clinical trials.
“The development of nebulized inhaled antibiotics provided a major advance to address significant unmet need in CF,” Hava said. But delivering drugs to the lungs with nebulizers is a limited strategy, and companies such as Acorda Therapeutics, Novartis, and Savara are creating dry powder formulations that can be inhaled into the lungs.
In one encouraging new approach, Pulmatrix developed the iSPERSE platform that uses an innovative particle engineering technology to create dry powders that solve limitations of conventional inhaled technologies, and expand the universe of inhalable drug therapies. iSPERSE seeks to improve therapeutic delivery to the lungs by maximizing local drug concentrations and reducing systemic side effects.
Delivering the drug directly to the lungs can reduce side effects and drug interactions, offering benefits not only for cystic fibrosis patients, but also to patients who have fungal lung infections and compromised immune systems.
Pulmatrix’s PUR1900 (iSPERSE-formulated itraconazole) incorporates a complex anti-fungal compound that can be administered at high therapeutic doses to the lung while minimizing systemic side effects. PUR1900 is the first inhaled anti-fungal product candidate for cystic fibrosis. The drug “has the potential to provide a valuable addition to current treatment options for pulmonary fungal diseases,” Hava said.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects mostly the lungs, but also the pancreas, liver, kidneys, and intestine. Long-term issues include difficulty breathing and coughing up mucus as a result of frequent lung infections. Other signs and symptoms include sinus infections, poor growth, fatty stool, clubbing of the fingers and toes, and infertility in men.