On the heels of Microchips Biotech's $35 million partnership with Teva ($TEVA) to apply the company's electronic drug delivery implant for administration over months to years toward at least one disease area, the company announced that Cheryl Blanchard, the former chief scientific officer of Zimmer, will become its new CEO.
"I am thrilled to be joining Microchips to lead the company to the next stage of commercializing game-changing products in women's health," Blanchard said in a statement. "A big part of my role will be to focus and build the company to commercialize products that address unmet needs for patients globally with this ground-breaking approach to delivering drugs."
In addition, SEC filings reveal the completion of a $18.6 million financing round, which adds to a $9.2 million financing round in 2009. The funding consists of equity and a security to be acquired upon the exercise of an option, warrant or other condition. Investors in Microchips include medical device bigwig Medtronic ($MDT) and VCs Polaris Venture Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, Intersouth Partners and Interwest Partners, as well as new investor Teva.
The generics giant will take an equity position in the company and make a technology access payment worth a combined $35 million.
Microchips Biotech's microchip-based implant comprises hundreds of tiny airtight reservoirs, each of which can store 1 milligram worth of medication. Each reservoir is sealed with a titanium and platinum seal, which melts temporarily when hit with a wirelessly transmitted electrical current, allowing the release of the drug. Delivery can occur according to a preprogrammed dosing schedule or (with the help of additional sensors) physiological or metabolic changes.
Implantation under a patient's buttocks, upper arm or abdomen can occur in a physician's office setting, as can removal.
|Drug-delivering chip from Microchips--Courtesy of Microchips Biotech|
"The microchip-based implant is truly at the intersection of digital technology and medicine and the future of drug delivery for patients who cannot tolerate needles, require regular self-administered injections or where compliance is critical to outcomes," said Michael Hayden, Teva's chief scientific officer, in a statement. "At Teva we are leading innovation in medicine with promising new drugs and solutions for drug adherence to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary healthcare complications."
Teva will pay additional milestone payments based on development and commercial milestones, as well as royalties on future products. The company has the option to expand the partnership beyond the first disease area, which it did not disclose. It will conduct the candidates' Phase II and III trials and regulatory filings.
Using the microchip-based implant, delivery of a synthetic parathyroid hormone in women with osteoporosis was shown to be bioequivalent to daily injections in a study of the implant published in Science Translational Medicine.
Microchips Biotech is also partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver reversible birth control for women in developing countries for up to 16 years. The company is also studying application of the implant for diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
Microchips' drug delivery device was developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers Robert Langer and Michael Cima. Langer once said that "the convergence of drug delivery and electronic technologies gives physicians a real-time connection to their patient's health, and patients are freed from the daily reminder, or burden, of disease by eliminating the need for regular injections."