InnarisBio specialized in drug formulation bringing its sol-gel based, intranasal excipient technology to atai. The novel technology may enable new drug formulations with unique and optimized modes of delivery across various active ingredients in the atia pipeline, as well as potential assets in the future.
The body protects the brain via the blood brain barrier (BBB), so reaching it safely with targeted treatments is a challenge. For a molecule entering the systemic circulation, large molecules and anything that is preferentially water soluble won’t be allowed to pass. This sets up an immediate challenge for developing treatments for psychiatric conditions, a field of medicine that is complex enough as it is.
So, one of the key challenges of developing therapies for psychiatric disorders is this: reaching the brain with an active ingredient in effective concentrations safely is difficult. This also helps to explain why existing treatments typically have less than optimal side effect profiles, i.e., drugs have to be taken in high doses just to get an adequate level to the brain, and much of the dose remains in the systemic circulation as it’s metabolized, impacting other organs.
For treatments that enter the systemic circulation, passing through the liver before reaching the brain, or first pass metabolism, is another challenge that the body presents to the drug maker. Most first pass metabolism occurs in the liver, but based on the route of administration, the active ingredient can also be degraded in the gastrointestinal tract, blood, vascular endothelium, or lung, reducing the bioavailability of the product, decreasing the levels reaching the brain.
A solution in limited settings may be injecting a treatment directly into the brain or spinal cord. But for obvious reasons, this is no minor procedure and is not something patients and clinicians would want to do on a regular basis. It requires significant medical expertise and likely a costly surgical suite, all while risking serious negative consequences, like infection.
InnarisBio is dedicated to addressing these challenges with its sol-gel based, intranasal excipient technology using direct, nose-to-brain, or N2B, delivery of platform compounds. What does this mean? The company’s sol-gel technology allows for virtually any active compounds to be delivered in liquid form (a nasal spray) into the nose, solidifying and adhering as a thin layer of gel at body temperature. The gel stays in the nose for an extended period where it can then release active ingredient via the N2B route gradually. And importantly, the nose-to-brain route offers the most direct, non-invasive route to the brain.
This formulation and therapeutic delivery strategy offers potential across therapeutic modalities and has the potential to benefit a variety of patient types. Novel formulations could improve several patient-centered measures like compliance and ease of use, which can enable atai to position several pipeline products for optimal treatment settings, whether that be office-based treatment or at-home delivery.