Nanotechnology company Liquidia Technologies was short on specifics last week when it announced it would start a new company focused on ophthalmology drugs.
Now we know why. CEO Neal Fowler was saving his thunder for the biggest audience of eye and vision research professionals in the world.
Fowler, speaking to WRAL Tech Wire last week from Seattle after meeting with the Liquidia investor The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, acknowledged that the Research Triangle Park company planned for the new company to start clinical trials of an experimental glaucoma treatment in 2014.
Fowler said that in the last six months the company has made so much progress that the company thought it was the right time to talk about it. But Fowler sidestepped specific questions about the drug or how Liquidia’s technology applies.
This week Liquidia presented data from two preclinical studies at the annual meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, or ARVO, a meeting that drew nearly 13,000 researchers from more than 80 countries to Seattle. Those studies offer a peek at the ophthalmic applications Liquidia has been researching.
One of the preclinical studies is for “Precisely Engineered Biodegradable Intraocular Implants for the Sustained Release of Dexamethasone.” Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug. One of the uses for the now generic drug is treating inflammation in the eye.
Liquidia also presented results for a a second preclinical study for “Application of PRINT Microparticle and Nanoparticle Technology Toward Preparation of Ophthalmic Suspension Formulations with Improved Tolerability and Efficacy.” “PRINT” is Liquidia’s proprietary nanoparticle manufacturing technology that allows the company to make nanoparticles of particular size and shape.
The ability to control the size and shape of a nanoparticle can improve how a particle is taken up by a cell in the body, targeting the drug’s delivery and reducing side effects. Liquidia has already demonstrated these properties in vaccines. Now the Liquidia team plans to apply those properties to ophthalmic products, in both existing drugs and new products. The company says that the technology can be used to develop both small and large molecule drugs in extended-release formulations, which would give doctors and patients more dosing options and improve patient compliance with a drug regimen.