It is perhaps a major turning point for the French MedinCell. The Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva unveiled, at the beginning of November, at a psychiatry congress in the United States, the positive results of its pivotal phase III study concerning its treatment against schizophrenia. This is the last step in the clinical evaluation process, before a potential marketing of its long-lasting subcutaneous injection solution of risperidone, developed in partnership with MedinCell.
Enough to give wings to the Hérault biotech (145 employees), based in Jacou, near Montpellier, which has been working on this innovation for eight years. “The file is being examined by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], the US Medicines Agency. If approved, the drug could be marketed [dès 2022]. This will be our first product on the market and the opportunity to change our dimension ”, rejoices Christophe Douat, chairman of the management board of MedinCell. And the former Boston Consulting Group consultant to add: “This will confirm the power of our long-acting injectable technology, which allows us to develop a portfolio of truly innovative treatments. “
Because the technological prowess of the tricolor nugget, founded in 2002 from the invention of Michel Vert, a CNRS researcher now retired, lies above all in his mastery of bioresorbable polymers, which makes it possible to inject under the skin a “Virtual mini-pump”. Associated with the active principle of the drug, this solution diffuses to the patient the programmed daily dose of the prescribed treatment. “The viscous mixture forms a semi-solid pea under the skin of just a few millimeters, which will gradually degrade and release the drug”, explains Christophe Douat. In the case of injections of risperidone, a long-standing antipsychotic drug administered to patients with schizophrenia, an injection every two months would replace the daily intake of tablets by mouth.
“Lack of treatment compliance”
This could be a matter of simple comfort, but this innovative mode of administration nevertheless constitutes a therapeutic advance. Almost half of people with a chronic disease do not follow their treatment to the letter, thus exposing themselves, in the case of schizophrenia, to relapses, or, for other pathologies, to even more consequences. serious. “Between 20% and 30% of the organs that are transplanted today are in patients who have had rejections for lack of compliance with their treatments”, details M. Douat.
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MedinCell wants to revolutionize the way medication is taken