Liquidia touts promise of next-gen respiratory delivery

Respiratory drug development can be rough business. Once you've developed an API, you have to make sure its particle size, shape and solubility will allow for absorption. Enter Liquidia Technologies with its PRINT platform, a particle engineering technology that has performed well in two recent studies.

PRINT (short for Particle Replication in Non-wetting Templates) allows drug developers to mold small-molecule, nucleic-acid and protein-based treatments, controlling for shape, size and chemistry. In one study, researchers took the API zanamivir and crafted a molecule with PRINT. They then compared its effectiveness with on-the-market Relenza, which has the same active ingredient, finding that three times as much of the drug got into the lung using PRINT, and the treatment penetrated deeper into the tissue, too.

In a second study, Liquidia tested PRINT's effect on solubility and found that the platform helped an excipient-free itraconazole formulation reach the 50% drug dissolution standard in 5 minutes, compared to the 10 minutes it took for a jet-milled formulation and the 45 for bulk dosing.

Because Liquidia's tech can dictate size and solubility to a precise degree, it will be able to boost the effectiveness of available respiratory drugs and perhaps spur the development of new ones, the company said. "It is understood that particle size and shape can play a significant role in the way an aerosolized medicine is distributed throughout the lung, but until now, complete control of these particle characteristics has not been possible," Liquidia executive director of research Benjamin Maynor said in a statement. 

Last year, the promise of PRINT and its applications in vaccine development grabbed some attention for the North Carolina-based company, leading to a $10 million investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

- read Liquidia's release
- check out the study results in Journal of Drug Delivery