Swiss specialty biopharma Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Berlin-based Alrise Biosystems agreed to work together to evaluate the latter’s ImSus® drug delivery technology for the development of an injectable, long-acting, controlled-release formulation of an undisclosed peptide therapeutic. Alrise will partner with Ferring to carry out feasibility and scale-up work. Ferring retains the option to agree a definitive deal with Alrise for further development and manufacturing. No financial details were released.

“Alrise is committed to delivering solutions that enhance the performance of drug products in development,” said Dr. Volker Rindler, Alrise’s co-founder and head of business development. “Together with Ferring we aim to develop a new depot formulation that, once injected, releases the drug in a controlled way and thereby ensures an effective drug level over several months.”

“Ferring aims to harness innovative technology platforms, such as Alrise’s microparticle technology platform, in order to provide new, controlled-release formulations of peptides and proteins for our patients,” added Alan S. Harris, Ph.D., svp, R&D executive office at Ferring Pharmaceuticals.

Alrise’s ImSus platform has been developed as a high-throughput approach to manufacturing drug-loaded polymeric microparticles, including capsules, sponges, and spheres. The firm claims the technology can be used to encapsulate hydrophobic and hydrophilic drugs, including small molecules, peptides, and proteins, and can be applied to a wide range of biodegradeable and nonbiodegradeable polymers.

Alrise is leveraging the ImSus encapsulation technology to develop an in-house pipeline of new formulations of off-patent drugs and is working with industry partners to develop new chemical entities as well as new formulations of existing drugs and generics.

Ferring says the agreement with Alrise is the latest in a number of deals focused on using novel technology platforms for peptide drug formulations. Within the last couple of months, Ferring teamed up with Foresee Pharmaceuticals to evaluate the latter’s Stabilized Injectable Formulation platform (SIF) for the development of a long-acting, controlled-release peptide therapeutic formulation.

In November 2016, Ferring  and Aché Laboratórios Farmacêuticos announced that they were setting up a joint Nanotechnology in Innovation Laboratory Enterprise (NILE) R&D center to carry out research on nanotechnology-based drug delivery for therapeutics, including peptides and proteins.

Separately, and within the last month, Ferring and Brazil-based Instituto de Ciências Farmacêuticas (ICF) reported establishing a research collaboration to develop a mucoadhesive rectal delivery system for treating anal fissures, with a focus on improving quality of care for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Also within the last month, Ferring negotiated global (ex-U.S.) rights to Apricus Biosciences' Vitaros® (alprostadil cream) for the treatment of patients with erectile dysfunction.