Orexo unveils nasal EpiPen rival, sets sights on 2022 clinical trial

Orexo has joined the pack of drug delivery companies trying to improve on adrenaline autoinjectors such as EpiPen. The Swedish company has applied its amorphOX drug delivery platform to the challenge, resulting in a nasal adrenaline candidate it is pitching as more convenient than existing options.

Intramuscular and subcutaneous autoinjectors dominate the market for emergency treatments of allergic reactions. However, multiple companies see opportunities to improve on the incumbents. This year alone has seen Windgap raise $17 million to develop smaller, longer shelf life autoinjectors and Aquestive Therapeutics advance a sublingual prodrug formulation.

Orexo sees the nasal passages as the route to success. The company developed its candidate, OX640, using a platform for creating particles that combine the drug with carrier materials to enable nasal delivery. Orexo expects OX640 to have multiple benefits over existing products. 

“Data generated so far indicates we can develop a product with true and meaningful improvements of currently marketed products on a global market. OX640 has the potential to transform the adrenaline market offering nasal delivery and less restricted handling and storage requirements,” Orexo CEO Nikolaj Sørensen said in a statement. 

RELATED: Windgap bags $17M to advance smaller, longer-life autoinjectors

While Orexo has taken other drugs based on its amorphOX platform into the clinic, it is yet to show how OX640 fares in humans. That could change next year. Based on talks with the FDA, Orexo has set out a development pathway that will see it optimize the formulation before moving into humans in the second half of next year.

Orexo said it “will consider the right partnership strategy for the product, but will explore opportunities for development- and commercialization partnerships during 2022.”