News Column

"Extended Release Biodegradable Ocular Implants" in Patent Application Approval Process

February 27, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Politics & Government Week -- A patent application by the inventors Nivaggioli, Thierry (Atherton, CA); Shiah, Jane Guo (Irvine, CA); Lin, Qing (Fremont, CA), filed on October 8, 2013, was made available online on February 13, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews correspondents.

This patent application has not been assigned to a company or institution.

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "This invention relates to implants and methods for treating an ocular condition. In particular the present invention relates to implants and methods for treating an ocular condition by implanting into an ocular region or site an extended release bioerodible implant comprising an active agent and a bioerodible polymer. The bioerodible implants of this invention have varying and extended release rates to provide for improved kinetics of release of one or more active (therapeutic) agents over time.

"An ocular condition can include a disease, aliment or condition which affects or involves the eye or one of the parts or regions of the eye. Broadly speaking the eye includes the eyeball and the tissues and fluids which constitute the eyeball, the periocular muscles (such as the oblique and rectus muscles) and the portion of the optic nerve which is within or adjacent to the eyeball. An anterior ocular condition is a disease, ailment or condition which affects or which involves an anterior (i.e. front of the eye) ocular region or site, such as a periocular muscle, an eye lid or an eye ball tissue or fluid which is located anterior to the posterior wall of the lens capsule or ciliary muscles. Thus, an anterior ocular condition primarily affects or involves, the conjunctiva, the cornea, the conjunctiva, the anterior chamber, the iris, the posterior chamber (behind the retina but in front of the posterior wall of the lens capsule), the lens or the lens capsule and blood vessels and nerve which vascularize or innervate an anterior ocular region or site. A posterior ocular condition is a disease, ailment or condition which primarily affects or involves a posterior ocular region or site such as choroid or sclera (in a position posterior to a plane through the posterior wall of the lens capsule), vitreous, vitreous chamber, retina, optic nerve (i.e. the optic disc), and blood vessels and nerves which vascularize or innervate a posterior ocular region or site.

"Thus, a posterior ocular condition can include a disease, ailment or condition, such as for example, macular degeneration (such as non-exudative age related macular degeneration and exudative age related macular degeneration); choroidal neovascularization; acute macular neuroretinopathy; macular edema (such as cystoid macular edema and diabetic macular edema); Behcet's disease, retinal disorders, diabetic retinopathy (including proliferative diabetic retinopathy); retinal arterial occlusive disease; central retinal vein occlusion; uveitic retinal disease; retinal detachment; ocular trauma which affects a posterior ocular site or location; a posterior ocular condition caused by or influenced by an ocular laser treatment; posterior ocular conditions caused by or influenced by a photodynamic therapy; photocoagulation; radiation retinopathy; epiretinal membrane disorders; branch retinal vein occlusion; anterior ischemic optic neuropathy; non-retinopathy diabetic retinal dysfunction, retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma. Glaucoma can be considered a posterior ocular condition because the therapeutic goal is to prevent the loss of or reduce the occurrence of loss of vision due to damage to or loss of retinal cells or optic nerve cells (i.e. neuroprotection).

"An anterior ocular condition can include a disease, ailment or condition, such as for example, aphakia; pseudophakia; astigmatism; blepharospasm; cataract; conjunctival diseases; conjunctivitis; corneal diseases; corneal ulcer; dry eye syndromes; eyelid diseases; lacrimal apparatus diseases; lacrimal duct obstruction; myopia; presbyopia; pupil disorders; refractive disorders and strabismus. Glaucoma can also be considered to be an anterior ocular condition because a clinical goal of glaucoma treatment can be to reduce a hypertension of aqueous fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye (i.e. reduce intraocular pressure).

"The present invention is concerned with and directed to an extended release implant and methods for the treatment of an ocular condition, such as an anterior ocular condition or a posterior ocular condition or to an ocular condition which can be characterized as both an anterior ocular condition and a posterior ocular condition.

"Therapeutic compounds useful for the treatment of an ocular condition can include active agents with, for example, an anti-neoplastic, anti-angiogenesis, kinase inhibition, anticholinergic, anti-adrenergic and/or anti-inflammatory activity.

"Macular degeneration, such as age related macular degeneration ('AMD') is the leading cause of blindness in the world. It is estimated that thirteen million Americans have evidence of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration results in a break down the macula, the light-sensitive part of the retina responsible for the sharp, direct vision needed to read or drive. Central vision is especially affected. Macular degeneration is diagnosed as either dry (atrophic) or wet (exudative). The dry form of macular degeneration is more common than the wet form of macular degeneration, with about 90% of AMD patients being diagnosed with dry AMD. The wet form of the disease usually leads to more serious vision loss. Macular degeneration can produce a slow or sudden painless loss of vision. The cause of macular degeneration is not clear. The dry form of AMD may result from the aging and thinning of macular tissues, depositing of pigment in the macula, or a combination of the two processes. With wet AMD, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes retinal cells to die and creates blind spots in central vision.

"Macular edema ('ME') can result in a swelling of the macula. The edema is caused by fluid leaking from retinal blood vessels. Blood leaks out of the weak vessel walls into a very small area of the macula which is rich in cones, the nerve endings that detect color and from which daytime vision depends. Blurring then occurs in the middle or just to the side of the central visual field. Visual loss can progress over a period of months. Retinal blood vessel obstruction, eye inflammation, and age-related macular degeneration have all been associated with macular edema. The macula may also be affected by swelling following cataract extraction. Symptoms of ME include blurred central vision, distorted vision, vision tinted pink and light sensitivity. Causes of ME can include retinal vein occlusion, macular degeneration, diabetic macular leakage, eye inflammation, idiopathic central serous chorioretinopathy, anterior or posterior uveitis, pars planitis, retinitis pigmentosa, radiation retinopathy, posterior vitreous detachment, epiretinal membrane formation, idiopathic juxtafoveal retinal telangiectasia, Nd:YAG capsulotomy or iridotomy. Some patients with ME may have a history of use of topical epinephrine or prostaglandin analogs for glaucoma. The first line of treatment for ME is typically anti-inflammatory drops topically applied.

"An anti-inflammatory (i.e. immunosuppressive) agent can be used for the treatment of an ocular condition, such as a posterior ocular condition, which involves inflammation, such as an uveitis or macula edema. Thus, topical or oral glucocorticoids have been used to treat uveitis. A major problem with topical and oral drug administration is the inability of the drug to achieve an adequate (i.e. therapeutic) intraocular concentration. See e.g. Bloch-Michel E. (1992). Opening address: intermediate uveitis, In Intermediate Uveitis, Dev. Ophthalmol, W. R. F. Boke et al. editors., Basel: Karger, 23:1-2; Pinar, V., et al. (1997). Intraocular inflammation and uveitis' In Basic and Clinical Science Course. Section 9 (1997-1998) San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology, pp. 57-80, 102-103, 152-156; Boke, W. (1992). Clinical picture of intermediate uveitis, In Intermediate Uveitis, Dev. Ophthalmol. W. R. F. Boke et al. editors., Basel: Karger, 23:20-7; and Cheng C-K et al. (1995). Intravitreal sustained-release dexamethasone device in the treatment of experimental uveitis, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 36:442-53.

"Systemic glucocorticoid administration can be used alone or in addition to topical glucocorticoids for the treatment of uveitis. However, prolonged exposure to high plasma concentrations (administration of 1 mg/kg/day for 2-3 weeks) of steroid is often necessary so that therapeutic levels can be achieved in the eye.

"Unfortunately, these high drug plasma levels commonly lead to systemic side effects such as hypertension, hyperglycemia, increased susceptibility to infection, peptic ulcers, psychosis, and other complications. Cheng C-K et al. (1995). Intravitreal sustained-release dexamethasone device in the treatment of experimental uveitis, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 36:442-53; Schwartz, B. (1966). The response of ocular pressure to corticosteroids, Ophthalmol. Clin. North Am. 6:929-89; Skalka, H. W. et al. (1980). Effect of corticosteroids on cataract formation, Arch Ophthalmol 98:1773-7; and Renfro, L. et al. (1992). Ocular effects of topical and systemic steroids, Dermatologic Clinics 10:505-12.

"Additionally, delivery to the eye of a therapeutic amount of an active agent can be difficult, if not impossible, for drugs with short plasma half-lives since the exposure of the drug to intraocular tissues is limited. Therefore, a more efficient way of delivering a drug to treat a posterior ocular condition is to place the drug directly in the eye, such as directly into the vitreous. Maurice, D. M. (1983). Micropharmaceutics of the eye, Ocular Inflammation Ther. 1:97-102; Lee, V. H. L. et al. (1989). Drug delivery to the posterior segment' Chapter 25 In Retina. T. E. Ogden and A. P. Schachat eds., St. Louis: CV Mosby, Vol. 1, pp. 483-98; and Olsen, T. W. et al. (1995). Human scleral permeability: effects of age, cryotherapy, transscleral diode laser, and surgical thinning, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 36:1893-1903.

"Techniques such as intravitreal injection of a drug have shown promising results, but due to the short intraocular half-life of active agent, such as glucocorticoids (approximately 3 hours), intravitreal injections must be frequently repeated to maintain a therapeutic drug level. In turn, this repetitive process increases the potential for side effects such as retinal detachment, endophthalmitis, and cataracts. Maurice, D. M. (1983). Micropharmaceutics of the eye, Ocular Inflammation Ther. 1:97-102; Olsen, T. W. et al. (1995). Human scleral permeability: effects of age, cryotherapy, transscleral diode laser, and surgical thinning, Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 36:1893-1903; and Kwak, H. W. and D'Amico, D. J. (1992). Evaluation of the retinal toxicity and pharmacokinetics of dexamethasone after intravitreal injection, Arch. Ophthalmol. 110:259-66.

"Additionally, topical, systemic, and periocular glucocorticoid treatment must be monitored closely due to toxicity and the long-term side effects associated with chronic systemic drug exposure sequelae. Rao, N. A. et al. (1997). Intraocular inflammation and uveitis, In Basic and Clinical Science Course. Section 9 (1997-1998) San Francisco: American Academy of Ophthalmology, pp. 57-80, 102-103, 152-156; Schwartz, B. (1966). The response of ocular pressure to corticosteroids, Ophthalmol Clin North Am 6:929-89; Skalka, H. W. and Pichal, J. T. (1980). Effect of corticosteroids on cataract formation, Arch Ophthalmol 98:1773-7; Renfro, L and Snow, J. S. (1992). Ocular effects of topical and systemic steroids, Dermatologic Clinics 10:505-12; Bodor, N. et al. (1992). A comparison of intraocular pressure elevating activity of loteprednol etabonate and dexamethasone in rabbits, Current Eye Research 11:525-30.

"U.S. Pat. No. 6,217,895 discusses a method of administering a corticosteroid to the posterior segment of the eye, but does not disclose a bioerodible implant.

"U.S. Pat. No. 5,501,856 discloses controlled release pharmaceutical preparations for intraocular implants to be applied to the interior of the eye after a surgical operation for disorders in retina/vitreous body or for glaucoma.

"U.S. Pat. No. 5,869,079 discloses combinations of hydrophilic and hydrophobic entities in a biodegradable sustained release implant, and describes a polylactic acid polyglycolic acid (PLGA) copolymer implant comprising dexamethasone. As shown by in vitro testing of the drug release kinetics, the 100-120 .mu.g 50/50 PLGA/dexamethasone implant disclosed did not show appreciable drug release until the beginning of the fourth week, unless a release enhancer, such as HPMC was added to the formulation.

"U.S. Pat. No. 5,824,072 discloses implants for introduction into a suprachoroidal space or an avascular region of the eye, and describes a methylcellulose (i.e. non-biodegradable) implant comprising dexamethasone. WO 9513765 discloses implants comprising active agents for introduction into a suprachoroidal or an avascular region of an eye for therapeutic purposes.

"U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,997,652 and 5,164,188 disclose biodegradable ocular implants comprising microencapsulated drugs, and describes implanting microcapsules comprising hydrocortisone succinate into the posterior segment of the eye.

"U.S. Pat. No. 5,164,188 discloses encapsulated agents for introduction into the suprachoroid of the eye, and describes placing microcapsules and plaques comprising hydrocortisone into the pars plana. U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,443,505 and 5,766,242 discloses implants comprising active agents for introduction into a suprachoroidal space or an avascular region of the eye, and describes placing microcapsules and plaques comprising hydrocortisone into the pars plana.

"Zhou et al. disclose a multiple-drug implant comprising 5-fluorouridine, triamcinolone, and human recombinant tissue plasminogen activator for intraocular management of proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). Zhou, T, et al. (1998). Development of a multiple-drug delivery implant for intraocular management of proliferative vitreoretinopathy, Journal of Controlled Release 55: 281-295.

"U.S. Pat. No. 6,046,187 discusses methods and compositions for modulating local anesthetic by administering one or more glucocorticosteroid agents before, simultaneously with or after the administration of a local anesthetic at a site in a patient.

"U.S. Pat. No. 3,986,510 discusses ocular inserts having one or more inner reservoirs of a drug formulation confined within a bioerodible drug release rate controlling material of a shape adapted for insertion and retention in the 'sac of the eye,' which is indicated as being bounded by the surfaces of the bulbar conjuctiva of the sclera of the eyeball and the palpebral conjunctiva of the eyelid, or for placement over the corneal section of the eye.

"U.S. Pat. No. 6,369,116 discusses an implant with a release modifier inserted in a scleral flap.

"EP 0 654256 discusses use of a scleral plug after surgery on a vitreous body, for plugging an incision.

"U.S. Pat. No. 4,863,457 discusses the use of a bioerodible implant to prevent failure of glaucoma filtration surgery by positioning the implant either in the subconjunctival region between the conjunctival membrane overlying it and the sclera beneath it or within the sclera itself within a partial thickness sclera flap.

"EP 488 401 discusses intraocular implants, made of certain polylactic acids, to be applied to the interior of the eye after a surgical operation for disorders of the retina/vitreous body or for glaucoma.

"EP 430539 discusses use of a bioerodible implant which is inserted in the suprachoroid.

"Significantly, it is known that PLGA co-polymer formulations of a bioerodible polymer comprising an active agent typically release the active agent with a characteristic sigmoidal release profile (as viewed as time vs percent of total active agent released), that is after a relatively long initial lag period (the first release phase) when little if any active agent is released, there is a high positive slope period when most of the active agent is released (the second release phase) followed by another near horizontal (third) release phase, when the drug release reaches a plateau.

"Thus, there is a need for a therapeutically effective extended release implant for the treatment of an ocular condition, such as posterior ocular condition. In particular, there is a need for effective delivery over an extended duration, for example, time periods extending up to 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, 6 months, 8 months, 12 months or more, preferably with maintenance of a therapeutic drug level at a desired posterior ocular region or site. Such extended delivery of an active agent can be advantageous to prevent recurrence of the inflammatory or other posterior ocular condition treated. It can also minimize the number of surgical interventions required by the patient over time to treat the condition, as compared to the use of implants having shorter release profiles."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent application, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The present invention meets these and other needs and provides for bioerodible implants and implant systems that can continually, or substantially continually, release active agent, such as the steroidal anti-inflammatory agent dexamethasone, at levels corresponding to at least about 5 ng/ml (and up to about 100 ng/ml) of dexamethasone or dexamethasone equivalent in the vitreous humor for a period of between about 30 days to about 360 days or more to treat an ocular condition, such as a retinal disease. In certain variations, consistent release levels of at least 10 to 50 ng/ml of dexamethasone or dexamethasone equivalent are achieved. In other variations, a continuous or substantially active agent release level can be achieved in vivo (i.e. in the vitreous) for at least about 90 days or more, 120 days or more, 6 months or more, 8 months or more, and 12 months or more."

URL and more information on this patent application, see: Nivaggioli, Thierry; Shiah, Jane Guo; Lin, Qing. Extended Release Biodegradable Ocular Implants. Filed October 8, 2013 and posted February 13, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=5907&p=119&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140206.PD.&OS=PD/20140206&RS=PD/20140206

Keywords for this news article include: Patents, Treatment, Hydrocortisone, Adrenal Cortex Hormones, 11-Hydroxycorticosteroids, 17-Hydroxycorticosteroids.

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