Drug Delivery Innovations

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FountainBlue’s October 17 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Drug Delivery Innovations. Below are notes from the conversation.
We were fortunate to have a range of perspectives on the panel, with a mix of entrepreneurs, researchers, providers, engineers and executives. Everyone’s diverse perspectives, thoughts and experience led to a rich, thought-provoking discussion around drug delivery innovations.
The panel commented on some of the hot areas of innovation in the drug delivery space:
• Delivering drugs to difficulty-to-treat areas, including the eye and the brain
• Consider chronic disease treatments and other illnesses which require frequently injection or medical procedure and the opportunity for delivering regular low-dose medication as an alternate to this more invasive approach.
• Provide less-invasive drug delivery mechanisms for the elderly which are more effectively and more convenient.
• Make implants less invasive, more reversible, easier to use and more effective. Same with inhalable and other methods.
• Consider delivering proteins and peptides in novel ways to address specific patient needs for many potential patients.
• Research existing and expired patent on drugs and consider the opportunities for delivering them in a novel way.
The panel had the following advice for entrepreneurs innovating in this space:
• Visualize and realize success, based on understanding the customer and their needs, and delivering it in a way that is both efficient and effective.
• Always start with the problem, not with the solution looking for the problem. If you start with the problem and work backwards from there, you would be more likely to remain customer-focused, a cornerstone of success for any company, particularly early-stage life science/biopharma companies.
• Consider the end-to-end needs of the solution, from the market, design, delivery and manufacturing/distribution perspectives.
• Be selective about which drug you choose for which drug delivery mechanism, considering factors such as market size, optimal delivery mechanisms (and why), stakeholders currently delivering solution, resistance to use and adoption, addictiveness and side-effects of drugs, and innovative alternative drugs (which may get approval, making your solution moot).
• Partner with large pharma companies, who may have limited budgets for internal R&D, but are chartered with creating new solutions, and finding more solutions for existing drugs. They are now in general interested in renting talent and expertise to solve problems in the market, and generally have a prioritized view of which markets are hottest.
• Partner with research organizations and universities, who may share the R&D costs and burden. There may even be existing solutions you can leverage and integrate into your desired solution. But this is not an easy path, so navigate it gingerly, considering the needs of all throughout the process.
• Focus on creating and leveraging value from the customer perspective, not just creative the latest hot technology.
• Consider leveraging existing delivery mechanisms and existing drugs for new purposes and markets.
• Funding is tight, unless you have a proven solution and are past the R&D phase, so focus on leveraging grants, partnerships, seed funding, etc and live leanly while building momentum.
• Optimize the number of ‘shots on goal’ by being strategic, recruiting the right team, and executing well.
• Select a drug delivery technology that changes the risk-benefit profile for the better.
Although all the panelists commented on the importance of the technology innovations, they were even more vocal about leveraging that technology to best address the needs of the customer, and working with the system and the stakeholders to bring the solution to market. This is a far greater challenge today than in decades past, when there were fewer patents, fewer and less stringent regulatory hurdles, fewer generic options, and larger R&D budgets.
But in the end, despite these challenges, the panel was bullish about the promise of drug delivery innovations, noting that innovations in the new and even established ways drugs are delivered can impact the efficacy and effectiveness of existing drugs and also provide new ways to deliver new and existing drugs, all with an eye to ease of use, needs of the customer, and optimal treatment for the patient.

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Please join us in thanking our speakers for FountainBlue’s October 17 Life Science Entrepreneurs’ Forum was on the topic of Drug Delivery Innovations:
Facilitator Robert Mackey, Biopharma Consultant
Panelist Richard Haiduck, Impel NeuroPharma
Panelist Matthew Hogan, CFO, Durect
Panelist Jeffrey Schuster, Triple Ring Technologies
Panelist Eric Sheu, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer for Vanton Research Laboratory, LLC
Presenting Entrepreneur Adam Mendelsohn, CEO, Nanoprecision Medical
Presenting Entrepreneur Harm Tenhoff, Bay Link LLC

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