All eyes on pSivida for back-of-the-eye drug delivery

pSivida is getting more and more attention these days as a drug-delivery company to watch, especially as it develops products for a potentially huge market--easy delivery of medicine for glaucoma and other age-related eye diseases. A month ago, Pfizer recognized this potential and the pharmaceutical giant threw a couple of million dollars at pSivida as it preps for a Phase I/II study on a bioerodible eye implant designed to provide sustained release of latanoprost for glaucoma and ocular hypertension. This week, BioTuesdays devotes a great deal of space to the company that it says "is now at the precipice of several blockbuster indications."

"We are already a good way along to becoming the world's leading provider of miniaturized drug delivery systems," CEO Paul Ashton tells "If we can make something small enough to be injected into the eye, it should be able to be injected into the joint for osteoarthritis, or into the brain, or subcutaneously under the skin."

The phrase "world's leading provider" is used so often in press releases it is routinely ignored, but in this case it appears to be true. As the article states: "There are currently three FDA-approved delivery systems to treat diseases at the back of the eye, and pSivida has developed two of them." But it is in "back-of-the-eye" diseases--like diabetic macular edema, age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma--where the huge opportunities lie, affecting more than 10 million Americans.

Its Durasert technology, also used in Iluvien, an eye drug candidate pSivida developed in partnership with Alimera Sciences, features bioerodible material, meaning it can be absorbed in the eye after it's done. And, the next step, according to BioTuesdays, is pSivida's Tethadur platform--a nanostructured, bioerodible material that can handle more than one molecule size to take on different diseases. The company's first goal for Tethadur is to deliver Avastin and Lucentis for treatment of AMD. The goal is to implant the device and it will continue delivering medication for six months before it completely dissolves. Human testing could begin in 2012.

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