Technologies
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WARF: P120322US02

Enzyme Aids Intranasal Drug Delivery


INVENTORS -

Robert Thorne, Jeffrey Lochhead

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing nasal spray containing matrix metalloproteinase-9, which helps drugs get absorbed into the brain and blood.
OVERVIEWCurrently, delivering drugs directly into the brain requires invasive surgery. This is because a tight cellular layer called the blood-brain barrier (BBB) not only prevents harmful substances from entering the brain, but also blocks many therapeutic agents.

Major research is now focused on bypassing the BBB and delivering drugs intranasally. While many factors influence how drugs are absorbed via the nose, it is known that certain substances can make the nasal lining, or epithelium, more permeable. Such ‘absorption/permeability enhancers’ include bile salts and other chemicals. However, none of these are used in conjunction with nasal peptide or protein drugs (e.g., calcitonin, desmopressin and oxytocin) because they can be toxic and cause irreversible damage to epithelial cells.
THE INVENTIONUW–Madison researchers have developed a method to enhance intranasal drug absorption using a naturally occurring endopeptidase, called matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). This enzyme makes the nasal epithelium more permeable to drugs by degrading type IV collagen. Nasal spray or drops containing MMP-9 can be administered at the same time or prior to a drug to improve its absorption.
APPLICATIONS
  • Drug delivery
  • Use with biopharmaceuticals such as peptides, proteins, oligonucleotides, vectors for gene therapy and stem cells
KEY BENEFITS
  • Higher concentrations of drugs can be delivered into the brain and blood.
  • Bypasses the blood-brain barrier
  • MMP-9 is a natural enzyme and may be better tolerated.
STAGE OF DEVELOPMENTThe development of this technology was supported by the WARF Accelerator Program. The Accelerator Program selects WARF’s most commercially promising technologies and provides expert assistance and funding to enable achievement of commercially significant milestones. WARF believes that these technologies are especially attractive opportunities for licensing.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
For More Information About the Inventors
Publications
  • Lochhead J.J. and Thorne R.G. 2012. Intranasal Delivery of Biologics to the Central Nervous System. Adv. Drug Deliver. Rev. 64, 614-628.
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Andy DeTienne at adetienne@warf.org or (608) 262-7859.
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Since its founding as a private, nonprofit affiliate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, WARF has provided patent and licensing services to UW–Madison and worked with commercial partners to transform university research into products that benefit society. WARF intellectual property managers and licensing staff members are leaders in the field of university-based technology transfer. They are familiar with the intricacies of patenting, have worked with researchers in relevant disciplines, understand industries and markets, and have negotiated innovative licensing strategies to meet the individual needs of business clients.

The University of Wisconsin and WARF –
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UW–Madison has the integrative capabilities to complete many key components of the drug development cycle, from discovery through clinical trials. As one of the top research universities in the world, and one of the two best-funded universities for research in the country, UW–Madison offers state-of-the-art facilities unmatched by most public universities.

These include the Small Molecule Screening Facility at the UW Comprehensive Cancer Center; the Zeeh Pharmaceutical Experiment Station, which provides consulting and laboratory services for developing formulations and studying solubility, stability and more; the Waisman Clinical Biomanufacturing Facility; the Wisconsin Institute for Medical Research, which provides UW–Madison with a complete translational research facility; and the innovative, interdisciplinary Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, home to the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research and its public twin, WID, part of the university's graduate school. The highly qualified experts at these facilities are ready to work with you to create a library of candidates for drug development.