26. April 2011 16:20
Eli Lilly and Medtronic are to join forces to develop a new treatment for Parkinson’s disease which uses a drug delivery system implanted in the brain.
The companies hope to create a therapeutic approach for the disease that combines Lilly's biologic, a modified form of glial cell derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), with Medtronic’s implantable drug infusion system technology.
Michael L. Hutton, Chief Scientific Officer of the Neurodegeneration team at Lilly, said that by combining the efforts of both companies early in the research, they are “maximising the potential for this therapy's efficient and effective development”.
He added: “We believe we have biosynthetically engineered this GDNF variant to overcome technical hurdles of previous research in this area and are hopeful that early testing of our biologic with Medtronic's device will provide the necessary data to safely advance into human studies.”
Medtronic’s drug pump and catheter have been designed to enable precise delivery of the GDNF variant into a targeted area of the brain consistently over time. It is hoped that this combination will impact the neurodegeneration that leads to the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
“One of the most significant challenges in delivering a biologic treatment for neurodegenerative diseases is crossing the blood brain barrier. We have extensive experience in targeted drug delivery and technology that allow delivery of therapeutic agents directly to the brain,” added Steve Oesterle, Senior Vice President of Medicine and Technology at Medtronic.