Those who suffer from Type 2 diabetes know that the treatment can feel worse than the disease. The most debilitating side-effect, and one that often presents a major barrier to patient compliance, is the nausea associated with metformin, the most popular anti-diabetic drug for glycemia control. The solution, according to Boston-based Spencer Pharmaceutical, is a better controlled-release product that does not "swell" inside the GI tract, causing gastrointestinal issues.
Spencer partners with the University of Quebec at Montreal to develop what they're calling an "intelligent vehicle" to deliver metformin. By "intelligent," the drug developers mean that the specially treated metformin is able to recognize harsh environments like gastric acid and change its configuration to a more stable structure to protect the bioactive agents while it's making its way through the GI tract, then release them in a controlled way at absorption sites. Also, according to the company, the drug delivery vehicle "can hang for a while on the intestinal walls and promote significantly the transport of the drug into the bloodstream."
According to In-PharmaTechnologist, the vehicle is a succinyl-chitosan-based extended release form of metformin, and it appears to have the potential to outperform the most popular brand of metformin, Glucophage XR from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The result, according to Spencer, was a release time of around 12 hours, or 50 percent longer than that of the Glucophage XR.
The next stage, Spencer CEO Max Arella tells In-PharmaTechnologist, is further study of the chitosan technology in animal models. If successful, Arella adds, chitosan could potentially be used in delivery of other prescription or over-the-counter meds.