First buyers and major industry interest for PreciseInhale
PreciseInhale, Inhalation Sciences’ flagship patented precision dosing system for early stage inhalation drug development, is currently earning the attention of a range of respiratory medical companies, inhalation labs and research institutes. With first sales and rollouts firmly in progress Inhalation Sciences’ CEO Fredrik Sjövall describes the company’s next generation platform, and why it is breathing new life into a fast-growing market.
“My immediate impression when I first saw the system was how market-ready it was,” says Fredrik Sjövall. “This was a complete, sophisticated, new generation technology totally ready to go. You could see that it had been in successful development for 10 years. Big pharma players like Astra Zeneca and GSK had collaborated on it. Six patent families were well underway and several patents had already been approved including China, Japan and several EU countries. I thought ‘this really deserves more market attention’, let’s go out there and tell people what we have.”
And so they did. The result being that PreciseInhale now has buyers and prospects queuing up, has recently been approved for patent in the US and is progressing well in rollout with its first large-scale buyer, attracting praise and attention for its innovative technology.
With two previous biotech and pharma start-ups under his belt Sjövall is no stranger to building up successful enterprises. In 2004/5 he successfully co-founded Pharmasurgics, developing a pharmaceutical product for the prevention of post-surgical scar formation. The innovation of Inhalation Science’s platform impresses him.
A new generation of inhalation drug development therapy
“Many people are calling it the next generation of inhalation drug development technology,” says Sjövall. “When we show it to clients, investors and analysts the response often is – wow, this is genuinely new. This really is innovative.”
Sjövall points out that inhalation is a complex, difficult therapy to develop compared to, for example, tablets, involving many complex technical parameters. Consequently it is a field that has not seen as much technical innovation as others, for example at the heart of many inhalation development labs is still the Wright Dust Feeder, which has not changed so much since its original invention in the 1950s.
So Inhalation Sciences’ new platform, developed by Dr. Per Gerde of the Division of Physiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet (KI) in Stockholm, is a much-needed, welcome innovation, delivering major benefits and a new way of working for labs.
Precision dosing can increase accuracy from -50% to -100% to -15% standard deviation
“It is a precision dosing system,” explains Sjövall. “So it tests individual subjects. Conventionally in inhalation testing large towers of subjects are used. The result is high standard deviation in results which ends up taking more test substance and a longer time. With individual subjects you have far more control and you get far more accurate data, you can use less substance and achieve earlier, more accurate results. One client told us that before using PreciseInhale they had been happy with -50 to 100% standard deviation on a lung dose. With our system we typically deliver -15% standard deviation. The accuracy is significantly greater.”
Milligrams not grams deliver major cost savings
As too are the cost savings. For pharma and respiratory companies developing inhalation products the price of test substances is high. With PreciseInhale accurate data can be gained from milligrams not grams of substance.
“Many clients and prospects actually can’t believe this when we tell them,” says Sjövall. “But the increased accuracy, control and data quickly convinces them. We have had clients trying our system who have quickly found it saves time and costs compared to a mass dosing testing system. They end up preferring our way.”
Close customer cooperation
The lab experience of customers trying the system so far has been extremely positive. The Inhalation Sciences business model, whether purchasing or leasing the system, stresses close customer collaboration and a step-by-step approach including site visits and training programs.
“We want to be with our customers all the way,” says Sjövall. “So far our experience is that it has been extremely easy for our customers to implement and get the system going. We’ve had visiting inhalation professionals in our labs who after a couple of days are happily using the system to carry out their own exposures. Our founder, Dr Per Gerde used to call PreciseInhale the Inhalation Lab on your desktop because it doesn’t require a full-blown inhalation lab team, and is simpler than the conventional inhalation lab tower systems – it’s a good description.”
PreciseInhale to be gold standard for early stage inhalation
Sjövall points out that inhalation is a large pharmaceutical market with huge potential for market growth. Representing a clear technology shift, Sjövall says Inhalation Science’s aim is to capture the lion’s share of this market.
“With the increase in asthma, COPD and air pollution in many of the world’s largest markets, these are crucial therapies that our system will help guide into the world. Yes we want to be the default technology, the gold standard system for early stage inhalation R&D.”
Clinical use ahead
Ultimately Inhalation Sciences aims to transition its suite of systems to clinical use. “We hope to get the system up and running in a clinical setting in a year or two. Technically we’re more than ready, we are working on validation now. Our ultimate goal is to create a quicker route from cell studies to man, without spending millions of dollars on more substance and more data. Using this systems you can create real high-value data on the real lungs of a human being. The world is getting more and more polluted. I believe that the inhalation therapies we see arriving on the market in the near future will have been tested in the early stages on our platform. It is the next generation for inhalation drug development.”