CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Genzyme Pharmaceuticals, a business unit of Genzyme Corp., and Birmingham, Ala.-based Brookwood Pharmaceuticals recently embarked upon a broad collaboration to develop novel drug delivery solutions, with an initial focus on peptide delivery.
As currently conceived, the partnership offers customized solutions for parenteral formulations by combining expertise in design for peptide delivery, peptide synthesis and drug delivery technologies. The "Design for Peptide Delivery" approach, as the companies are calling the collaborative effort, is designed to optimize peptide physical and chemical properties early on in drug development, to match a peptide with the properties of microparticles, implants and other drug delivery formulations required for optimal drug delivery.
The drug discovery market represents the people who can benefit most from the combined Genzyme-Brookwood program, according to David Wyatt, senior director of commercial development for Genzyme Pharmaceuticals. "The men and women involved in drug discovery need the advantages we can give them early on to get them higher hit percentages and get drugs to market with the least cost."
Often when drugs are in discovery, the company may not have thought far enough in advance about the delivery system, notes Thomas R. Tice, EVP and CSO for Brookwood Pharmaceuticals. "We have a series of experiences and approaches the Genzyme-Brookwood team can bring in to help with drug design and make the peptide analogue on the Genzyme side and get testing on the Brookwood side to see what minor changes might make all the difference in the world to match the analogue to the right delivery system."
For example, many peptide drugs are not soluble, Tice points out, and companies try to make them as soluble as possible. But if the peptide is too soluble, the company might not be able to use it in an injectable microparticle delivery system.
"They think they are doing a good job by working on that solubility issue, but it may backfire on them at the end," Tice says, adding that companies that take advantage of the Genzyme-Brookwood partnership may avoid these and similar problems. "With a little extra time in discovery, companies can shorten preclinicals and move into clinical trials already having saved significant time and money."
Another advantage the companies are touting—in addition to the chemistry, testing and manufacturing skills they offer—is a sense of continuity. Tice maintains that if you start in discovery with the company that is going to make your final peptide, that can be a big advantage, and using the Design for Peptide Delivery program can help facilitate that.
"We've seen clients who switch from one peptide company to another throughout the drug process, and each time they do that, they lose scientific focus because each company has a different approach and they have to keep adjusting to those differences," Tice says.