Oral Insulin Is Still Very Much Alive at Some New York and Boston Area Biotechs

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the transport of proteins and other ingredients across membranes, such as those found in the gastrointestinal tract. The companies haven’t predicted how long it will take them to develop a viable product, but if it works, it could be worth as much as $57.5 million to Emisphere.

Entrega: This company, which was formed by Boston-based Enlight Biosciences in January, is working on oral versions of several biologic drugs, including insulin. The startup has remained largely under wraps, but what we do know is that famed MIT inventor Robert Langer is on its advisory board, as are executives from Genentech and Johnson & Johnson.

Alkermes: OK, so this isn’t quite an example of an oral-insulin project that’s still alive, but it’s worth noting anyway. Waltham, MA-based Alkermes (NASDAQ: ALKS) once had a pact with Eli Lilly to develop inhaled insulin, but that project died in 2008, when Lilly decided to shelve it. Then, in January of this year, Alkermes spinoff Civitas Therapeutics secured $20 million in funding to resurrect Alkermes’s technology for inhaled drugs. But Civitas isn’t going near the insulin market: Instead it’s investigating the technology for use in Parkinson’s disease.

Is Civitas smart to forget about inhaled insulin? Or is non-injected insulin still a dream worth pursuing?

And have I missed any companies that are working on insulin alternatives? I’d like to hear your answers to those questions.

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3 responses to “Oral Insulin Is Still Very Much Alive at Some New York and Boston Area Biotechs”

  1. Richard says:

    It would seem to me that if a drug product like Nitroglycerin, which can be placed underneath the tongue, and can be absorbed almost instantly that dilates the blood vessels to help blood flow, it would seem logical to have an insulin product that would allow different grades of potency in accordance with the patients needs, help administer the proper dosage after every meal or as needed by the patient. The only risk or problem would be weakening of the tongue muscle with prolonged use, as is seen in regular injected insulin.

  2. mny says:

    There’s an Israeli Biotech Start-up called Oramed Pharmaceuticals that has had a lot of recent success with their oral insulin capsule.

    They’re planning on starting Phase II clinical trials in the beginning of 2012.

  3. Jim Thompson says:

    This will take off like Viagra did, only this under tongue film will become much more popular due to the boomers. Someone please move this into mainstream trials….quicker.