Elan Pharma International Ltd., a subsidiary of Elan Corporation plc, today announced an agreement to license its proprietary NanoCrystal technology to Roche. NanoCrystal technology can improve the bioavailability of drugs by transforming them into nanometer-sized particles that can be used to create more effective and convenient dosage forms such as tablets, capsules, liquids, and powders. The license agreement will provide Roche with access to NanoCrystal technology and the rights to apply the technology to a drug candidate currently in clinical development.
"We are pleased that we are going to continue to work with Roche to apply our NanoCrystal technology to the formulation of this drug candidate," said Paul Breen, executive vice president, Global Services & Operations, Elan. "For more than 30 years, Elan has been working to meet the challenges of drug delivery and enhance the performance of drugs. By addressing poor water solubility through the use of NanoCrystal technology, Elan Pharma International Ltd. continues to play a role in furthering the development of drug candidates. In addition, our technology can help companies to differentiate their current therapies from the competition by creating more effective and convenient treatment options for patients."
In the agreement, Elan will provide Roche with formulation services and technology in exchange for research revenues, development milestones and royalties on sales of the product incorporating or made using NanoCrystal technology.
"We are pleased to bring our 2003 evaluation agreement with Elan to this next level and are enthusiastic about the potential of NanoCrystal technology," said Urs Saner, Roche's Head of Pharma Technical Development. "This agreement further strengthens our ability to deliver value for patients as we continue to develop innovative, differentiated medicines."
NanoCrystal technology may enhance the clinical performance of poorly water-soluble drugs by transforming them into nanometer-sized particles. An increasing number of the drug candidates synthesized each year by pharmaceutical companies are poorly water-soluble. Many of these potentially innovative drug candidates are often abandoned because of poor pharmacokinetic properties including absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion. NanoCrystal technology has the potential to rescue a significant percentage of these chemical compounds. The drug in nano-form can be incorporated into common dosage forms, including tablets, capsules, inhalation devices, sterile forms for injection, with the potential for substantial improvements to clinical performance. There are currently two pharmaceutical products that have been commercialised incorporating NanoCrystal technology, with several additional product launches anticipated over the next two years. The NanoCrystal technology is protected by 85 issued U.S. patents and 48 pending patents.