A Medical Device Daily Staff Report

Neuroderm (Ofakim, Israel) said that it has been granted $490,000 in funding by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (New York). The award will support clinical work to develop a new transdermal skin patch for continuous delivery of levodopa, the natural precursor of dopamine, which is deficient in Parkinson's disease.

Continuous dopamine delivery systems have generated a great deal of interest because it is hypothesized that dyskinesias – disruptive, jerky movements associated with long-term levodopa therapy – result from the sharp fluctuations in dopamine blood levels that occur when levodopa is given orally, the company said.

But to date all attempts at achieving continuous delivery have proved impractical or infeasible, and attempts to deliver levodopa transdermally have failed because, among other reasons, the drug is unstable, insoluble and does not penetrate the skin, the company said.

NeuroDerm's system is based on a formulation involving a prodrug, levodopa ester (LDE). The company has demonstrated “success” in maintaining steady therapeutic levodopa blood levels in animal models, it said.

NeuroDerm said it expects that the patch, by overcoming the short half life of levodopa through continuous transdermal delivery, should be able to minimize or even reverse dyskinesias and other disabling late motor complications associated with long-term oral levodopa administration in advanced Parkinson's disease.