Spotlight On... 7 drug delivery frontiers; Orexo bags milestone payment for sublingual cancer pain relief med; Drug delivery startup funded in $25M Series A; and more...

Stat gave a shoutout to several forms of drug delivery, including self-expanding rings that expand in the stomach, 3-D printed pills, implanted devices, remote-controlled activation of drugs, microneedle patch, cell squeezing and tumor implants. With the possible exception of cell squeezing (being pursued by 2015 Fierce 15 member SQZ Biotech) and stomach rings (being developed by MIT and Cambridge, MA, biotech Lyndra), all of the innovations are being pursued by multiple teams. In addition Titan Pharmaceuticals got credit for its implant to treat opioid addiction. Academics from Boston, to Colorado, to the U.K. and Japan were recognized as well. These frontiers in drug delivery powered investments of more than $250 million in drug delivery companies last year. More

> Sweden's Orexo announced a $5 million milestone payment from European commercial partner ProStrakan Group because sales of sublingual fast-acting pain reliever Abstral exceeded €67.5 million ($72.6 million) in 2015. The med is "intended for treatment of breakthrough pain in cancer patients." More

> Boston-area startup Rubius Therapeutics exited stealth mode thanks a $25 million Series A round. It aims to genetically engineer and "functionalize" red blood cells with therapeutic proteins by using a lentiviral delivery vehicle to insert a gene that encodes instructions to produce the desired protein within the cell. Rubius' first target is the rare genetic condition phenylketonuria. More