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Infusion-to-Oral Drug Delivery Company Acquired

Pills in blister packs

(PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay)

16 November 2016. A company with a technology for converting drugs given by intravenous infusion into pills and capsules was acquired Grünenthal Group, a provider of pain medications. Financial terms were not disclosed of the acquisition of Thar Pharmaceuticals in Pittsburgh by Grünenthal Group in Aachen, Germany.

Thar Pharmaceuticals provides a process for converting approved drugs given by intravenous infusion into oral drugs like tablets and capsules, making the medication easier to take and more convenient for patients. Thar says its technology, called Enhance, changes a drug compound’s physical characteristics, such as solubility, permeability, and melting point, as well as bioavailability, onset, and absorption properties in the body. However, interactions between the drug and proteins, and effects of the drugs on molecular functions are not affected.

Grünenthal’s main corporate focus is pain medications, and Grünenthal says Thar’s lead product will fit into its overall portfolio. The product, code-named T121 by Thar Pharma, is a reformulation of zoledronic acid, marketed as Zometa by Novartis, given as an IV infusion to treat complications of multiple myeloma causing pain or fractures in bones and hypercalcemia, or high blood calcium levels. Novartis also offers Reclast, a version of zoledronic acid to prevent or treat osteoporosis, given as an IV infusion.

Thar Pharma is developing T121 as a treatment for complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, a chronic pain condition in the limbs often resulting from injuries to affected limbs. CRPS is believed to be caused by a malfunctioning or damaged peripheral nervous system, sending nerve signals to and from the brain and spinal cord. Pain from CRPS is prolonged or constant, and can become severe. Affected limbs can also become discolored or swollen.

According to Thar Pharma, T121 received orphan drug designation from Food and Drug Administration as a CRPS treatment. In addition to preclinical studies, the company carried out an early-stage clinical trial of T121 among healthy postmenopausal women, testing the drug for safety and actions in the body, at various dosage levels, Thar Pharma is planning late-stage clinical trials of the drug as well.

Another pain drug, code-named T109 by Thar Pharma, is designed as a fast-acting non-narcotic therapy for acute pain, such as back or post-operative pain, now in preclinical tests. The company filed for an initial public offering of common stock in August 2016, raising $50 million.

Thar Pharma’s products and technology are expected to fit in well at Grünenthal Group. “We are expanding our development portfolio for treating patients with orphan, disabling diseases, says Grünenthal’s chief scientist Klaus-Dieter Langner in a company statement. “For CRPS, an often debilitating, extremely painful syndrome, truly efficacious treatments are lacking today.”

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