History and references

InhaTarget Therapeutics is a spin-off company project from the University of Brussels (‘ULB’), which has received financial support from the Walloon Region (more than €500k) to (i) validate of the proof-of-concept of its chemotherapy DPI products and (ii) structure the company activities.

The company aims to valorise the expertise and the promising patented technologies developed by the ULB’s Laboratory of Pharmaceutics and Biopharmaceutics (LPB). LPB is and will remain a key partner of the company.

They trusted our expertise through Research & Development collaborations:

Led by Prof. Karim Amighi, LPB is located in Brussels (Belgium). It is an internationally recognized group in the field of inhalation, currently hosting 3 permanent faculty staff members, 2 post-doctoral researchers, 12 PhD students and 3 technicians.

Its innovative research in the inhalation field has already led to about 40 publications in peer-reviewed international journals, 7 patents and 1 new inhalation product marketed in Europe. The laboratory has led more than 40 competitive research projects, financed by regional funds or by national or international pharmaceutical companies, with a total budget of more than €7 million since 2003.

Research at the laboratory in lung drug delivery ranges from the development of innovative formulations to their production. Production uses particle engineering, scalable techniques (high-pressure homogenization or spray-drying) or classical blending methods. This research activity includes diverse drug dosages (from µg to hundred mg) and therapeutic applications (infections, cancer, asthma and COPD), using conventional drugs or biotechnological drugs (peptides, proteins and RNA).

Different formulation strategies, including nanomedicine, have been developed to modulate drug dissolution, lung retention and tissue penetration of drugs presenting different solubility and permeability. State of the art techniques evaluate the developed formulations, from their physicochemical properties, in vitro aerodynamic performance, in vitro dissolution profiles, in vitro tolerance and permeability on lung cell or epithelium models up to the in vivo evaluations, including pharmacokinetic, tolerance and efficacy on preclinical rodent models.

Further evaluations, such as pharmaco-scintigraphic studies in volunteers/patients or scale-up studies, have been also conducted by the laboratory. In the field of pulmonary infections, it has developed highly dispersive excipient-free formulations for tobramycin and clarithromycin. This has also been done for solid dispersions, with or without nanocrystals, to modulate the dissolution of poorly-water soluble itraconazole (immediate release) or water-soluble voriconazole (prolonged release and lung retention) to treat pulmonary aspergillosis.

Over the last 10 years, LPB has considered this administration route for novel therapeutic applications such as delivery of:

  1. Drugs to treat moderate or severe asthma using synergistic combination of bronchodilators or from biotechnology;

  2. Anticancer drugs encapsulated in targeted nanopharmaceuticals or with controlled release strategies to cover the gap between localized treatments (i.e. surgery and radiotherapy) and systemic treatments (i.e. conventional chemotherapies, targeted therapies and immunotherapy) in lung cancer;

  3. Antibiotic(s) or antifungal(s) to better target the site of infectious and the future developments of advanced nanotherapeutic strategies to treat antibiotic multi-resistant bacteria and chronic respiratory infectious diseases and/or synergistic combination of antibiotics to combat tuberculosis.

These developments have also led to one product being released onto the market, for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and seven patents in the field of pulmonary drug delivery.

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