Partnerships with biopharmaceutical company celebrated

Issued: Fri, 03 Aug 2018 16:28:00 BST

UofG scientists are working in collaboration with Ferring Controlled Therapeutics to improve drug delivery.

Professor Neil Evans and Dr Michelle Bellingham from the Institute of Biodiversity and Comparative Medicine, and Dr Peter Hastie from the School of Veterinary Medicine have worked with the biopharmaceutical company for 11 years.

Initial interactions were with the East Kilbride company Controlled Therapeutics who had pioneered aspects of polymer based drug delivery systems and were acquired by Ferring Pharmaceuticals in 2011.  

Ferring Pharmaceuticals have a strong research focus on development of innovative treatments in reproductive medicine and women’s health, and the improvement of quality of life through work in urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and orthopaedics.  While Ferring’s research focus encompasses both drug development and delivery, the focus of the collaboration with the University of Glasgow has been the latter.

While we are used to taking many drugs orally, the nature of some drugs means that this route can be ineffective and a parenteral formulation is required. Working with the University of Glasgow, Ferring Pharmaceuticals have been developing alternatives to parenteral delivery, specifically the use of polymer based drug delivery systems to deliver effective doses of drugs trans-vaginally.  The vaginal epithelium provides an ideal site for drug absorption and the possibility for the use of depot delivery systems such as vaginal rings which also allow for chronic drug delivery.

Following initial laboratory based studies, polymer based drug delivery systems can then be tested in a translationally relevant animal system, the sheep, which if successful can lead to clinical studies. 

Dr Janet Halliday, Associate Vice President at Ferring Controlled Therapeutics, said, “We are delighted to be working with experts within the University of Glasgow on developing vaginal delivery systems to improve drug absorption. We have made significant progress and drug delivery formulations for dopaminergic, antimuscarinic and adrenergic drugs have been tested as well as local anaesthetics, microbicides and endocrine treatments, with some potential products moving forward for clinical trials.”