Nature Biomedical Engineering publishes study on breakthrough technology that may help speed drug development and identify medicines that can be taken orally, including remdesivir for COVID-19
Vivtex Corporation, a pre-clinical biotechnology company focused on the oral delivery of biologics into systemic blood circulation or localized into GI tissue, announced today the publication of a new study that demonstrates a way to expedite the development of new drugs by rapidly testing how well they are absorbed in the small intestine. Vivtex’s GI-ORIS platform could also be used to find new ways to improve the absorption of existing drugs so that they can be taken orally. The article, “Robotically handled whole-tissue culture system for the screening of oral drug formulations,” was published in the April 27, 2020 online edition of the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
Vivtex co-founder and one of the senior authors of the study, Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, said, “By studying model systems that mimic intestinal absorption, we can test thousands of different versions of a drug in just hours with the goal of quickly identifying better formulations for diseases that, in the past, we’ve had to treat with poor oral permeability therapeutics. This preclinical research sets the stage for work that focuses on developing innovative ways to deliver complex molecules, including macromolecules, directly to GI tissues for optimal absorption and effect.”
“The study is an important step forward in our understanding of how best to deliver biologic drugs such as peptides, antibodies, and nucleic acids which, despite decades of research, still cannot be delivered orally. We believe that our technology will address this challenge and change the paradigm in drug delivery for patients,” commented Douglas Eby, Vivtex Co-founder and CEO.
Vivtex is developing therapies internally and with Bristol Myers Squibb through a multi-year and multi-molecule collaboration and license agreement which combines Vivtex’s Gastrointestinal Organ Robotic Interface System (GI-ORIS) formulation and delivery technology with Bristol Myers Squibb’s proprietary molecules.
To see how well the system predicts human drug absorption, researchers tested about 60 FDA-approved drugs, with varying properties and oral absorption in humans. They found that the absorption rates predicted by their new system showed near perfect correlation compared with available data on how well these drugs are absorbed in the human digestive tract. In contrast, predictions generated by tests in the current gold standard of invitro models had only 50 percent accuracy.
“In addition to demonstrating high prediction of drug absorption in humans, the published research also shows that the system can rapidly discover drug delivery systems that increase oral bioavailability as demonstrated in large animal studies. This creates unique opportunities to solve complex drug delivery problems that will hopefully improve patients’ lives. We are currently working on testing an oral formulation for remdesivir, Gilead’s investigational nucleotide analogue with broad-spectrum antiviral activity, for COVID-19 infection treatment. We believe that our ability to perform ultra-rapid development of oral formulations of antivirals currently only available via needle injection, such as remdesivir, could help combat the current pandemic and offer possibilities for mass drug administration campaigns,” said Dr. Thomas von Erlach, Vivtex Chief Scientific Officer.
About the Vivtex GI-ORIS Technology
The proprietary Gastrointestinal Organ Robotic Interface System (GI-ORIS) platform was developed in the Laboratory of Dr. Robert Langer at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, under the leadership of Dr. Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor; Dr. Giovanni Traverso, Professor in Mechanical Engineering at MIT, a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School; and Dr. Thomas von Erlach, Vivtex Chief Scientific Officer. The GI-ORIS system incorporates breakthrough tissue engineering technology, which has recapitulated the GI tract, in-vitro, for the first time. The transformative platform is characterized by high throughput performance that can model human absorption with near perfect predictability, a powerful combination enabling the development of novel oral formulations and delivery methodologies, previously not possible based upon the limitations of available technologies.
Vivtex is a pre-clinical drug development company focused on the targeted oral delivery of macromolecules directly into specific GI tissues for the treatment of gastroenterology related diseases, and through the GI barrier for systemic bioavailability addressing a variety of targets. Launched in September of 2018 with the backing of Cambridge Science, Vivtex uses high through-put screening coupled with AI-based data analysis. Using its GI-ORIS system, developed in the laboratories of Robert Langer and Giovanni Traverso at MIT and Brigham Women’s Hospital, Vivtex has generated several new delivery systems including a polymer-based drug delivery platform for effective local delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutics into GI tissue for treatment of GI related diseases.
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