MacroChem Corp. (NASDAQ:MCHM) has acquired the exclusivelicense to a new drug delivery technology developed by Italy'sNational Science Foundation, the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche(CNR). The technology may be used to deliver therapeutic enzymes,proteins, and drugs.MacroChem, of Lexington, Mass., said the method may result inreduced side effects, increased stability, and a more effectivetherapeutic response through the attachment of unique low-molecularweight polyvinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) molecules to enzymes andpolypeptides. It may also be useful in modifying collagen and otherbiomaterials for drug delivery and cosmetic applications.Richard Glaser, MacroChem's chief operating officer, said hiscompany had co-sponsored the research for a number of years. He saidthe new technology increases solubility greatly. "It is not a very largemolecule, so it doesn't change the conformation of proteins andenzymes," Glaser said. "It is chemically bonded to the protein but issmall enough to increase stability without interfering with the approachof third party molecules, as happens in many cases."Other advantages Glaser noted include protection against immuneresponses and against degradation by stomach acid or in thegastrointestinal tract."It's a technology that allows you to work with proteins moreeffectively. It may have great advantages for biotech companies wheremost of the products are proteins. It can also be used to developmatrices that code sustained-release products that can be absorbedtransdermally. It may not work as well with implants," he said.MacroChem has filed patents on the technology in the U.S., Canada,and Europe. It is actively considering a joint development program forenzyme-based pharmaceutical products with a partner Glaser declinedto name.

-- Philippa Maister

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.