New Mode of Insulin Delivery

A new way to treat diabetes may be just around the corner. Several biotechnology companies are in hot pursuit of an oral form of insulin. So far, two options exits for patients with diabetes who require insulin – pumps or syringes, with other needle-free options remaining elusive. In 2007, Pfizer, Inc., withdrew Exubera, an inhaled insulin, saying it failed to find favor with doctors and patients.

The main hurdle with taking insulin by mouth is the challenge of avoiding digestive action that breaks it down.

Last month, Novo Nordisk started a phase 1 clinical trail in Germany with an oral insulin analog (NN1952). Novo is using Merrion Pharmaceuticals PIc’s GIPET technology to shield insulin from the digestive tract. The trial will investigate the safety and efficacy of NN1952 in healthy volunteers and people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The enrollment target is about 80, and results are anticipated in the first half of 2011.

Other biotechnology companies like Biocon Ltd as well are in the race to be the first out with an insulin pill. Oramed Pharmaceuticals is currently conducting phase 2B trials of its oral insulin capsule, ORMD-0801.

Oral Medicine in non-pill form are also in the works. Biodel is developing a sublingual oral insulin formulation called VIA tabTM that dissolves in minutes when placed under the tongue. Generex Biotechnology Corp. is forging ahead with an oral insulin spray, Oral-lynTM.

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