Breathing space: Inhalable biologics interest prompts Intertek expansion

Interest in inhaled biologics is increasing says Intertek, which has announced plans to expand its testing facility in Melbourn, near Cambridge.

Intertek will double capacity with a new 20,000 square-foot lab kitted out with technologies use to assess inhaled and nasal formulations of large molecule drugs. It also plans to hire 100 employees over the next four years.

As companies are increasingly looking at biologics for non-invasive delivery platforms like inhaled and nasal, there is expected to be an increased demand,” Chris Vernall, business development director, Intertek Pharmaceutical Services, told Bioprocess Insider.

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“This is something we are already seeing at Intertek Melbourn and have invested accordingly in specialist biologics characterisation equipment.”

The firm said the expansion will provide a dedicated laboratory space focused on formulation development of inhaled biologics to meet increasing demand from clients globally.

The facility is expected to open later this year.

Inhalation

Delivery via inhalation is attracting has attracted a lot of biopharmaceutical industry interest in recent years.

The approach enables local, targeted delivery to the lung and has potential to up new treatment pathways for diseases such as cystic fibrosis, asthma and lung cancer.

A review in Molecular and Cellular Pediatrics suggested monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are a focus for developers of inhalable formulations.

The authors wrote that because “mAbs retain their physical and immunological properties after aerosolization, suggesting that it is only a matter of time before mAb inhalation is utilized therapeutically.”

“Biotherapies constitute the fastest growing sector of approved drugs, but their delivery via the lung remains a nascent field.

“It is increasingly clear, however, that inhaled biological therapeutics can offer some strong advantages over traditional therapeutics including increased potency, reduced systemic availability, and potentially, a longer duration of action.”

Producing benefits

There are also manufacturing advantages associated with developing inhalable formulations of large molecule drugs according to Intertek.

“Delivery direct to the lung is likely not only to be more efficacious, but also to require less of the active ingredient compared with other routes of delivery.”

The firm added that delivery via inhalation or through the nasal mucosa “is more convenient and less painful compared with other routes of administration for biologic drugs, which are generally administered intravenously.”

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