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By Natalie Morrison, 19 Sep 2011

Immunotherapy and vaccine specialist Circassia says its new license agreement with NanoPass Technologies will help its range of allergy products to thrive on the market. The UK based company inked a deal with NanoPass to use its intradermal injection delivery system, MicronJet microneedle, on all of its ToleroMune Allergy TCell Vaccines.

The device enables the delivery of drugs directly into the skin where there is a higher concentration of immunologically active cells; the target for the vast majority of allergy therapies and certainly Circassia’s developmental range of allergy vaccines.

Circassia, which previously used standard needle and syring based subcutaneous administration techniques to deliver its products, believes that the intradermal MicronJet approach is a significant improvement for patients and physicians.

Circassia’s vice president of early development Pascal Hickey told in PharmaTechnologist: “In order to achieve optimal efficacy it’s desirable to deliver allergy vaccine products intradermally because of the skin’s high concentration of antigen prescribing cells.

“The thing we found most interesting about MicronJet was its capability to deliver intradermally every time. “Previously we have been using standard needle and syringe and specialized delivery. To do that you have to insert the needle just enough to get intradermal delivery, but not enough to deliver subcontaneously. “This is very difficult and very specialized, and in the clinic many GPs may never have done it. It’s easy to go too deep or to miss delivery at all. Even for a physician this would be tricky.

“However, unlike a standard one inch needle, the NanoPass needle is short so that no matter how hard you press it in it still will go no further than the skin.”

Bright future
If the device is successfully integrated with the product, it will be used for all of Circassia’s allergy vaccines, including cat, ragweed and other therapies which will begin Phase III clinical trials in 2012. Hickey added: “We believe if we have a delivery system that can deliver to the target every time, with minimal requirement for training the administrator, then we have something that can be widely marketed to clinics, surgeries and hospitals. “It is reasonable to hope for our product that this is going to enhance the performance in the market place.”

Working in a volatile market

The deal however, has not been made without considerable consideration of working within a sometimes volatile country with Israel based NanoPass. However Hickey said that the benefits of working with the company outweighed the cons tenfold. He added: “Have any concerns ever been raised about working in Israel? Probably, yes.” “It lessens the appetite people have to go over and see the company for one. It’s not that we don’t want to see them, but there is a slightly increased risk that you could be involved in travel hiccups. “We’ve had to put a little more effort into thinking about this deal on a commercial scale. “Yes, the risk is there, but the benefits of the collaboration outweigh the risk of anything untoward happening.”

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