Mucus is a barrier for drug delivery
The body is surrounded by boundary tissues that play the important physiological role of preventing foreign bodies from penetrating into the body. The mucus that coats these tissues, the eyes, lung, cervical/vaginal tract and gastrointestinal tract, for example, serves as a protective barrier to trap and eliminate particulate matter, such as viruses, bacteria and allergens, before these agents can enter the underlying tissues and cause infections or elicit reactions. However, in playing this pivotal role of protection, mucus can also hinder medical treatments by limiting the penetration of medications to mucus-protected tissues, thereby reducing their therapeutic effect.
Mucus also makes it difficult to treat many ophthalmic diseases. The body can rapidly eliminate drugs delivered to the eye via the tear film protecting the surface of the eye, which can significantly limit the effectiveness of these drugs. This is the case both for drugs designed to treat conditions in the front of the eye, such as dry eye disease and post-operative inflammation and pain, as well as for drugs designed to treat conditions in the back of the eye, such as retinal diseases. We believe that our proprietary MPP technology has the potential to address this clear unmet medical need for more efficient delivery of drugs administered via topical ocular dosing.
Mucus-Penetrating Particles (MPP) Technology
Our MPPs are selectively-sized nanoparticles and have non-covalent proprietary coatings. We believe that these two key attributes enable even distribution of drug particles on mucosal surfaces and significantly increase drug delivery to target tissues by enhancing mobility of drug particles through mucus and preventing drug particles from becoming trapped and eliminated by mucus. We believe this enables enhanced efficacy at equal or lower doses as well as less frequent dosing for improved patient convenience and compliance.
While a significant portion of conventionally formulated ophthalmic drugs are rapidly eliminated via the tear film, we have shown that our MPPs are capable of achieving higher concentration on the surface of the eye, thereby enabling the active drug substance to reach cells in the underlying ocular tissue at higher levels.
The graphic below illustrates the ability of our MPP drug nanoparticles to penetrate the tear and membrane-bound mucins to reach the ocular surface, as compared to conventional, non-coated particles, which adhere to the mucins in the tear film and are cleared with the tears through blinking.
Application of MPP Technology for Delivery of Drugs to the Eye:
Our initial focus is to leverage our MPP technology to enhance delivery of drugs into the eye. In preclinical studies, KPI-121 demonstrated favorable pharmacokinetic characteristics and increased drug penetration into ocular tissues.