Midatech is applying its GNP technology to develop a method of needle-free delivery of insulin for treating Type 1 diabetes, taking advantage of the fact that binding a peptide hormone to a GNP allows its absorption across the mucosa of the cheek. Through its MidaSol Therapeutics joint venture with Monosol Rx, Midatech has developed a self-dissolving oral postage stamp-sized strip containing GNP-conjugated insulin called MidaForm™-Insulin-PharmFilm®. This strip is placed on the inside of the cheek and the insulin is absorbed directly into the bloodstream via the mucous membrane of the cheek (i.e. transbuccal application). A Phase II clinical study with MidaForm™-Insulin Pharmfilm® is planned to start in 2015.
Midatech has successfully bound glucagon-like-peptide (GLP-1) to GNPs and is studying a GNP-conjugated transbuccal application of GLP-1 for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Company is preparing a formal GLP-1 pre-clinical programme in this area to optimise dosing, construct and formulation and to establish safety and proof of concept.
A combination treatment in which insulin and GLP-1 are delivered on the same GNPs has also been developed and showed positive results in pre-clinical studies.
As part of a €6 million EU Framework 7 consortium grant, Midatech is developing a therapeutic vaccine using its GNP technology to inhibit the autoimmune destruction of pancreatic β-cells. The project was initiated in September 2012.
Midatech is developing GNPs that carry a tumour-targeting agent, folic acid (FA), and a cytotoxic platinum compound. The targeting agent has been selected because ovarian carcinoma cells over-express the receptor for FA on their membranes and platinum is an effective cytotoxic for ovarian cancer.
Midatech has demonstrated the ability of GNPs and conjugates to cross the intact blood brain barrier in vitro and in vivo. A program is now underway, in collaboration with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, to evaluate GNP conjugates with key chemotherapeutic agents used for the treatment of glioblastoma. Midatech aims to undertake pre-clinical trials of GNP compounds in glioblastoma in 2015.
Preliminary research with GNP-lactose conjugates shows preferential targeting and delivery to the liver, suggesting that the application of GNP technology can be used to target liver disease. The lactose targeting of GNP conjugates with key chemotherapeutic drugs used for the treatment of liver disease is now being evaluated.
A programme to develop and evaluate drug conjugates with selected chemotherapeutic agents that are targeted to the pancreas due to its preferential uptake of certain proteins or amino acid sequences is underway. Midatech aims to undertake pre-clinical trials of GNP compounds in pancreatic cancer in 2015.
Midatech is actively pursuing a therapeutic vaccine for non-small cell lung cancer based on its GNP technology. Studies were started in 2010 linking tumour-specific antigens to GNPs and investigating their potential to induce specific cytotoxic T-cell responses.