Fraunhofer ITEM takes over development of Takeda's inhalation technology assets

The transfer includes the CPA technology platform – the technology for continuous aerosolisation of powdery substances

The German contract research firm Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), has agreed to take over Takeda's Surfactant and Continuous Powder Aerosolisation (CPA) programme.

The move is part of the Japanese pharmaceutical firm's plan to sell its respiratory division to AstraZeneca, which was announced last December (2015).

The transfer includes the CPA technology platform – the technology for continuous aerosolisation of powdery substances – and the expertise to manufacture recombinant surfactant protein C, together with the associated intellectual property.

Fraunhofer ITEM will continue the development of therapies involving continuous inhalation of surfactant and other medications, begun 10 years ago as contract research on behalf of industry.

The CPA technology is said to be the first non-invasive administration method for powdery surfactant drugs, required by patients with surfactant deficiency. This therapeutic approach has been investigated in other acute and chronic life-threatening diseases such as acute lung injury and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Fraunhofer ITEM is delighted to continue development of the surfactant and CPA technology platform

Surfactant is secreted by lung cells and reduces surface tension in the alveoli, preventing their collapse. Foetal surfactant production starts in week 24 of gestation. Preterm neonates suffer from varying degrees of pulmonary surfactant deficiency, which may lead to neonate respiratory distress syndrome. Surfactant-based therapy is the standard of care. Its use is limited, however, due to the currently invasive administration methodology.

The CPA technology simplifies surfactant delivery to neonates and can also be used for children and adults. Recombinant surfactant protein C is the first recombinant surfactant protein suitable for use in synthetic surfactant drugs.

CPA is also a suitable technology to continuously deliver pulmonary high doses of non-soluble drugs to patients. In respiratory care, the standard of aerosolisation for continuous inhalation is currently confined to different classes of nebulisers. In contrast, the CPA technology enables continuous inhaled administration of non-soluble drugs. In addition, it delivers higher drug concentrations and enables higher lung deposition rates.

Dr Gerhard Pohlmann, Head of Medical Inhalation Technology at Fraunhofer ITEM, said: 'As a long-standing partner in the CPA programme, Fraunhofer ITEM is delighted to continue development of the surfactant and CPA technology platform. We are currently in the strategic process of reorganising the programme and selecting development partners.'

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