Collaboration Between CrystecPharma and Iconovo Aims to Develop Better Inhaler Solutions for Patients

Alberto Molano, PhD avatar

by Alberto Molano, PhD |

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CrystecPharma signed a letter of understanding with Iconovo to develop innovative dry powder inhaler solutions for the treatment of patients with lung diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis.

Direct delivery of medications into the lungs permits their rapid uptake via a non-invasive route. The two key factors that determine successful lung delivery of inhaled medications are the inhaler device itself and the formulation.

Formulations require precise control of particle size, ease of aerosolization, and stability. Traditional techniques such as micronization (milling and grinding to reduce particle size) and spray drying (producing a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying with a hot gas) don’t always work, especially in the case of poorly stable, heat- or moisture-sensitive compounds.

CrystecPharma specializes in a technique called modified supercritical anti-solvent (mSAS) technology to engineer particles with improved characteristics.

In mSAS, the medication is dissolved in a suitable solvent, such as ethanol or acetone, and added to carbon dioxide subjected to critical temperature and pressure conditions (known as supercritical fluid, or SCF, where distinct liquid and gas phases do not exist). The solvent is quickly extracted from the medication by the supercritical fluid (hence the name “anti-solvent”), leaving dry microscopic particles with well-defined crystalline morphology. In this way, mSAS allows precise control of particle size and characteristics.

By collaborating with Iconovo, a company with complementary expertise in ready-to-use inhalation devices for dry powder inhalation, CrystecPharma seeks to accelerate the development of innovative inhaler products for several lung diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, cystic fibrosis, or respiratory syncytial virus.

“Working with Iconovo enables CrystecPharma to offer a more comprehensive inhaled product delivery solution to our customers, and a fast route to commercialization for novel inhaled products,” Paul Thorning, CEO of CrystecPharma, in a news release.

The products may also be used in situations that require a fast therapeutic uptake such as migraines, epilepsy, or the treatment of overdose.

The collaboration is on a non-exclusive basis, and Iconovo and CrystecPharma will promote each other’s technologies and expertise.

“This collaboration will help Iconovo to establish a more solid foundation in the innovative biotechnology space,” said Orest Lastow, Iconovo’s CEO.

The two companies have launched a pilot project to assess a multi-dose delivery device for CR002, an inhaled treatment in development by CrystecPharma for urge incontinence. The study is designed to show the superior deep lung delivery of the system, compared with conventional devices and particle engineering.