TheraKine's tunable delivery matrix offers long-term opioid dependence results

Berlin-based delivery specialist TheraKine is developing a technology that it says could ease the local delivery of biological agents and small molecules, including the opioid receptor naltrexone used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. The company welcomed successful results this week for the sustained-release tech, reaching a milestone with its joint venture partner, Rainbow Coral.

TheraKine's delivery platform is designed to control the release of drugs for a tunable outcome, anywhere from 6 months of continual release to a large, initial burst followed by a slower release. In the case of naltrexone as an alcohol- and opioid-dependence drug, this delivery option can lead to the best treatment outcome over a period of time.

Developed four years ago, the technology allows for tunable control of the release of a drug based on the degree to which either a hydrophobic or a hydrophilic matrix is used. Other possible areas in which the platform could be useful are ophthalmology, oncology, dermatology, neurology, neuro-oncology and rheumatology, CEO Stan Yakatan told FierceDrugDelivery in an email, with the availability to be used for antibodies, antibody fragments, peptides, small molecules and other biologics.

The preclinical results for naltrexone turned out better than expected, Yakatan wrote, and the company is moving forward with additional animal studies to have pharmacokinetics data in the near future to show sustained action for up to 6 months at a time.

"The only existing depot platform for naltrexone release is a polymeric one," TheraKine Chief Scientist Andreas Voigt said. "TheraKine's platform is based on a novel low-molecular weight ingredients matrix. Naltrexone is not released via a biochemical matrix degradation process but by a complex diffusion under a leading role of water."

"The primary reasons our matrix is successful where others have failed is that all our excipients in our matrix are (existing approved excipients)," Yakatan said, "and the folding process utilized by Dr. Voigt does not make any chemical changes to the drug we are creating the sustained action for."

TheraKine entered a joint venture agreement with Rainbow Coral earlier this year.

"TheraKine is very close to marketing a new drug-release technology that could change the lives of millions of drug and alcohol addicts," Rainbow CEO Patrick Brown said in a statement.

- here's the release