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The Need and the Challenge of Delivering Innovative Topical Ophthalmic Treatments

  • October 4, 2013


    Kim Brazzell, MD, CMO and  Hongming ChenVP, Research, from Kala Pharmaceuticals share their thoughts on “The Need and the Challenge of Delivering Innovative Topical Ophthalmic Treatments”



    The need for improved ocular disease therapies is large and growing due to the increasingly aging population. Many currently marketed therapies are associated with frequent dosing or invasive delivery methods (i.e., implants, injections) and sub-optimal therapeutic benefit. To address this need, a number of novel delivery approaches are beginning to emerge, including novel protein and small molecule therapeutics and targeted nanoparticles to name just a few. However, a significant challenge remains to provide more convenient (less frequent and/or less-invasive) treatment options with the potential for improved efficacy and safety. Satisfying the growing market in a more effective and user-friendly manner by delivering drugs to the eye in a non-invasive fashion remains a challenge because conventional non-invasive approaches such as eye drops have not been able to penetrate the mucosal barrier to achieve optimal therapeutic benefit. In fact, up to this point, mucus layers have been largely overlooked as a limitation for drug efficacy because therapeutic agents become trapped by the tear film and are cleared via blinking without penetrating the mucus layers. One novel approach that is beginning to demonstrate encouraging results is Kala Pharmaceutical’s mucus penetrating particle (MPP) technology. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that MPPs can improve drug retention, suggesting the potential for greater efficacy at a fraction of the standard therapeutic dose compared to traditional therapies. This is accomplished by facilitating penetration through the mucus layer of tear film. Kala’s MPP technology allows therapeutic agents to avoid being trapped by the tear film and cleared via blinking, thereby enhancing the penetration of drugs at the site of disease. Kala is employing this technology to develop innovative topical treatments for both front and back of the eye disease. Beyond ophthalmology, this technology can be applied to a number of other applications, including respiratory diseases (e.g., asthma and cystic fibrosis), gastrointestinal and vaginal diseases, and mucosal vaccines. We look forward to learning more about the many innovative new approaches to drug delivery at the upcoming Partnerships in Drug Delivery conference.