​Panaceutics, a personalized medicine and clinical nutrition company in Research Triangle Park, will partner with Florida Hospital’s Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) on a new way to help patients with heart disease take all of their medicines as prescribed.

“Panaceutics offers an innovative approach to helping us further our goal of improving medicine adherence,” said Duane Davis, M.D., former Duke University surgery professor and director of transplantation, who became CVI’s medical director in 2015.

The initial agreement includes concept development for clinical testing and trials at CVI, located at Florida Hospital’s Health Village, a 172-acre health care and life sciences innovation district near downtown Orlando.

“Our desire in partnering with Panaceutics is to diminish costs and boost adherence rates, while offering a more personalized product for patients,” Davis said.

Studies show that nearly 75 percent of adults don’t follow their drug prescriptions, causing poor clinical outcomes, higher health care costs and lost job productivity. The cost of nonadherence has been estimated at $100 billion to $300 billion annually due to avoidable hospitalizations, nursing home admissions and premature deaths, according to one report in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Automating personalized medicine delivery

Panaceutics has developed an automated system for producing personalized formulations of vitamins, nutraceuticals, fish oils and herbs in gels, purees and other food bases, as an alternative to taking multiple pills. Now it is developing pill-free suspensions of approved pharmaceuticals.

“This agreement is a key step toward developing and designing the studies necessary to advance our vision of personalized, combination pill-free suspensions to treat cardiovascular disease,” said Edison Hudson, cofounder and chief executive officer of Panaceutics. “The world-renowned expertise and results of the researchers and physicians of the Cardiovascular Institute of Florida Hospital are second to none and will be a valuable extension of our product development program.”

Currently, Panaceutics delivers personalized monthly subscriptions of pill-free dietary suspensions combining up to 20 active micro-nutrients in puree-filled pouches. The company says several market trials have shown the flavored purees are preferred by a large majority of consumers over taking multiple pills, a burden that often discourages patients and consumers, especially the elderly, from taking all of their medicines and nutritional supplements as prescribed.

Over 60 percent of the U.S. population takes at least one supplement a day, and almost 30 million Americans consume more than five supplements per day.

Robotic system produces 30 days of meds in under four minutes

Panaceutics uses cloud-based software to choose the right ingredients and dosage for an individual, and the formula is then sent to the company’s proprietary robotic system, which builds a 30-day supply in less than four minutes using current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), as required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier this year Panaceutics acquired Triangle Compounding Pharmacy of Cary, giving it both a state-regulated compounding pharmacy and an FDA-registered outsourcing facility that is qualified to supply hospitals, medical research institutes and clinical research organizations. Panaceutics said the acquisition will help it apply its proprietary technology to pharmaceuticals.

Panaceutics leases space in the Alexandria Center for Science, Technology and Agriculture, a campus on Davis Drive in Research Triangle Park that previously housed the former Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences. The facility houses the company’s headquarters, R&D, engineering and pilot production lines.

When fully equipped next year, the cGMP facility will be able to provide personalized therapies for up to 50,000 people per month, the company said earlier this year.

Investors include NCBiotech, Alexandria, Sanitarium Health

Panaceutics signed a long-term lease with the property’s owner, Alexandria Real Estate Equities. Alexandria’s venture capital arm, Alexandria Venture Investments, invested $500,000 in Panaceutics in December 2016.

That investment followed a $1 million investment from Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Co., an Australian health food company, which also licensed Panaceutics’ system for exclusive use in Australia and New Zealand.

Panaceutics received a $250,000 Small Business Research Loan from the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in 2016 to develop a next-generation pasteurization process. The company also received a $75,000 Biotech Center loan in 2014 and has benefitted from three business interns funded by NCBiotech in each of the last three years.

Panaceutics was co-founded in 2013 by Hudson, who came from the leadership of iRobot Corp., and L. Staton Noel III, a former GlaxoSmithKline researcher who has been director of the Office of Innovation Commercialization at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 2011.

(C) N.C. Biotechnolgy Center