Flowonix to develop drug delivery implant for Cerebral's neurological candidates

The blood-brain barrier has proven to be one of the body's most insurmountable barriers and has helped scupper several neurological candidates. A new drug delivery alliance aims to overcome the obstacle by bypassing it all together.

Infusion pump specialist Flowonix Medical of Mount Olive, NJ, just announced that it aims to develop an implanted drug delivery system for direct administration of Cerebral Therapeutics' small molecule candidates into the brain.

It appears that refractory epilepsy will be the main target of the drug delivery alliance. On its website, Aurora, CO's Cerebral says it is combining proprietary medications to treat the condition with a "targeted micro-dosing implantable delivery method." The company says that oral epilepsy treatment is ineffective in 20% of patients, and that 30% to 40% of them are noncompliant with their drug regimen.

"Cerebral Therapeutics chose to work with Flowonix because the Prometra and Prometra II infusion pumps offer a patented valve-gated drug delivery system which allows for very precise dosing of medicine," said Cerebral CEO Dr. Dan Abrams in a statement. "The state-of-the-art Prometra pump platform will be used to deliver medication directly to the brain. For certain agents, this may reduce the doses necessary for therapeutic effect, lessen the risk of systemic toxicity, and possibly ameliorate the side effects associated with certain types of neurological therapies."

He added that clinical trials will be needed to demonstrate the benefits of targeted drug delivered directly to the brain, and said intraspinal delivery has shown the advantages of a direct approach to administration.

Flowonix's Prometra--Courtesy of Flowonix

Flowonix's implantable Prometra infusion pump delivers the generic painkiller morphine, commonly marketed as Infumorph, to the intrathecal space in the spine. Last year the company raised $40 million in debt and equity financing to commercialize the pump for chronic pain patients.

In addition, the company submitted an upgraded version of the Prometra to the FDA last year. One major difference is that physicians won't have to take the drug out of the pump prior to performing an MRI, Flowonix CEO Steve Adler said in a previous interview.

Now the company is aiming to deploy its infusion technology in the brain as well.

"This is an important partnership for Flowonix, which already has the privilege of being a leader in bringing infusion pump technology to address the largely unmet need of chronic pain," Adler said in a statement. "It demonstrates our commitment at Flowonix to bringing the most advanced technology to our physicians when treating their most challenging patients, particularly those with neurological conditions and with few other treatment options."

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