The Medical Technology Blog

Welcome back to this weeks second article from the Medical Technology Blog, which centres on the pharma company Cypress Bioscience, please read on…

In an effort to expand its CNS pipeline, Cypress Bioscience has struck a deal with Mountain View, CA-based Alexza Pharmaceuticals to license the latter’s Staccato technology – a novel nicotine inhaler system intended to aid in smoking cessation. Cypress’ Chairman and CEO, Dr Jay D Kranzler, views the licensing deal as consistent with the company’s renewed focus on CNS drug development, and plans to take the technology into Phase I development late next year.

According to a specialist in nicotine addiction, Dr Neal Benowitz of the University of California San Francisco, a pulmonary nicotine device like Staccato nicotine may be useful in addressing a “pressing pharmacological problem” in overcoming nicotine addiction – namely the acute cravings during quit attempts are inadequately treated by current nicotine replacement therapies. Benowitz believes that a device that provides for rapid absorption of nicotine, combined with electronic controls to adjust doses for tapering and cessation, is “what the field has been waiting for.”

This is not the only step that Cypress has made lately to forge ahead in the world of CNS drugs. Late in August, the Californian company acquired patent rights and technology related to a novel, intranasal formulation of carbetocin, a potential breakthrough treatment for the core symptoms of autism. Cypress made an upfront payment of US$750,000 Marina Biotech, the developer of the therapy, which could increase to US$27 million in milestone payments. Cypress has committed to funding all continuing development activities, and will pay single-digit royalties to Marina based on any commercial sales.

Staccato and carbetocin have joined CYP-120 and CB-CAP in Cypress’ existing development portfolio of CNS therapies. CYP-120 is an antipsychotic for the potential breakthrough treatment of schizophrenia, which was licensed from BioLineRx in June and is currently under clinical development; while CB-CAP is a technology platform of cell-bound complement activation products to diagnose and monitor debilitating autoimmune disorders. The latter technology was acquired from Cellotape Corporation in February 2009 and Cypress hopes to see the first services using the therapy to be available in the fourth quarter.

Thanks to Sophie Bracken for this article. Sophie is editor of Drug Delivery Insight at Espicom Business Intelligence.



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