Non-invasive delivery of biological drugs and vaccines remains a major challenge in healthcare, especially in developing countries where the often warm conditions can degrade the pharmaceuticals. Patients with chronic conditions are particularly vulnerable, and would greatly benefit from administration via alternative routes than currently possible. Non-invasive delivery could increase compliance rates and convenience to patients, while assuring dosing accuracy, a concern with subcutaneous administration.
Multiple companies are trying to find a solution to non-invasive delivery, particularly in diabetes management. They all have different solutions, ranging from dermal patches with microneedles, intra-nasal delivery systems to oral drugs using different kinds of formulation technologies. The Swiss startup BioLingus is trying a different approach. While most companies rely on advanced chemical excipients, BioLingus has been inspired by the nature. Seeds of plants contain high concentrations of proteins, and have to survive and remain intact for years, often in extreme conditions of temperature, moisture and drought. Using advanced bio-engineering, the startup is mimicking these mechanisms seen in plants to stabilize biological molecules at room temperature.
Using their cutting-edge technology, BioLingus is developing oral and mucosal delivery of peptides and proteins for chronic diseases, such as diabetes and inflammatory diseases, and immune-therapies, for instance in cancer, auto-immune diseases and development of oral vaccines. Their pipeline include a wide range of products, including an oral version of the diabetes drug Exenatide, and oral vaccines for influenza and for the treatment of leishmaniasis, a much-neglected tropical disease. They are also exploring the use of IL-2 for early onset juvenile type 1 diabetes, as well as multiple allergies and rheumatoid arthritis, which has shown promising results in animal models.
Their technology creates the potential to change the way we deliver biological molecules in pharmaceuticals, and have multiple benefits over current more invasive methods. Its ease of administration could radically improve quality of life for patients who are dependent on daily self-injections, reducing the risk of infections due to needle handling. It offer a safer and more stable delivery of vaccines, particularly in developing countries without a stable infrastructure. In fact, BioLingus aim to broaden access to medicine to the developing world. Their technology enable storage of medications in room temperature, unlike injection solutions that must be refrigerated, reducing the need for a cold chain. And although hi-tech, the technology is relatively low-cost, making it more cost-effective.
The startup has developed a unique, proprietary technology, allowing for different types of innovations to happen in parallel, whether it is incremental, social or disruptive innovation. The technology is applicable to the treatment of a wide variety of diseases, from chronic to neglected tropical diseases, and can greatly improve health outcomes and quality of life for millions around the world.
BioLingus has been widely praised by the WHO, and the startup announced in September, 2016 that they had entered a co-marketing agreement with WuXi Apptec. The startup has won multiple awards, including the ‘Most Innovative Biotech Company’ in 2016 from the European CEO Magazine, as well as the 2016 ‘Best Delivery System Award’ from the Global Health & Packaging magazine. They have also won the ‘Gamechanger Award’ and ‘European Biotech Award’ 2016 from the ACQ annual award programs, recognizing organizations and individuals that have achieved outstanding commercial success.