Lyndra said today that it won a 5-year grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. The grant is slated to support the formulation and preclinical development of a once-weekly oral HIV treatment.
The Watertown, Mass.-based company makes use of a sustained-release technology developed by Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A star-shaped pill loaded with drugs remains in the gastric cavity after it’s been swallowed for a pre-determined length of time. After the drugs have been released, the pill splits into small pieces and safely passes through the GI tract, according to Lyndra.
The company said it plans to develop an antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis that increases medication adherence and outcomes for patients with HIV, thanks to its newly-acquired funds from the NIAID.
“Given the need for life-long antiretroviral therapy, there is great interest in long-acting oral option to make it easier for patients to adhere to their treatment regimens,” Brigham & Women’s Hospital HIV specialist Dr. Paul Edward Sax said in prepared remarks.
“Inconsistent adherence to HIV therapies is particularly impactful due to the potential for therapeutic failure and the development of resistance. A patient forgetting to take his or her medication, even for a few days, has significant implications for long-term health. By creating a weekly oral formulation with an optimized pharmacokinetic profile, we believe we will enable improved therapeutic success. Oral long-acting therapies complement injectable therapies in development and potentially expand access,” chief scientific officer Andrew Bellinger added. “Support from NIAID will enable us to begin development of this important and timely therapeutic.”
In April, Lyndra closed a $23m Series A round, led by Polaris Partners, to fund the development of its long-acting therapeutic oral delivery platform. Quark Venture, GF Securities, Yonghua Capital, Healthlink Capital, Partners Healthcare, Suffolk Equity and others invested in the round.