From SpringLeaf's ashes, scPharma continues with minipump delivery

SenseCore Minipump--Courtesy of scPharma

SpringLeaf Therapeutics, a drug delivery company for which investors once had high hopes, failed to produce the wearable subcutaneous pump system it had been trying to make. SpringLeaf's collapse, however, led to the formation of a new company that hinges on a similar device.

According to a report in the Boston Globe, SpringLeaf fizzled out of existence last month without conducting a single clinical trial of its subcutaneous pump, despite collecting $20 million from investors. But SpringLeaf's CEO Pieter Muntendam formed scPharmaceuticals, which will continue work on a wearable pump of its own--the SenseCore Minipump--using some of SpringLeaf's assets.

The new company partnered this week with the Swiss Sensile Medical Holding to develop a wearable battery-operated minipump for patients with heart failure that delivers drugs with a small needle under the skin, according to a statement from scPharma. The drug is a novel formulation of the diuretic furosemide, which is currently used only in tablet or intravenous form. scPharma expects to submit an NDA by early 2015.

Meanwhile, what will scPharma do differently from its predecessor? Muntendam told the Globe the new company would rely on a less expensive delivery approach and aim for less stringent regulatory standards. And Muntendam's revamping of the idea under a new name demonstrates his belief that it ultimately will work.

"The Affordable Care Act has created an urgent need for novel therapies that offer benefits comparable to those achieved by intravenously administered drugs in the hospital, but which can be administered anytime anywhere by the patient," Muntendam said in the scPharma release. "Although numerous technologies have been pursued for small and convenient minipumps, the SenseCore minipump technology stands out because of its precision and the unique and cost-effective two component design of a versatile, reusable battery-operated engine and the low-cost disposable component that includes the drug delivery component."

- here's the scPharma release
- and here's the Globe report