Pharma Focus Asia

Progenity and Ionis Pharmaceuticals Enter into Agreement to Evaluate Progenity’s Ingestible Oral Biotherapeutics Technology for Delivery of Antisense Therapies

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Progenity, Inc. a biotechnology company with an established track record of success developing and commercializing molecular testing products, today announced an agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals, the leader in RNA-targeted therapeutics, to evaluate the safety, tolerability and performance of Progenity’s Oral Biotherapeutics Delivery System (OBDS) for oral systemic delivery of antisense oligonucleotides, developed and manufactured by Ionis.

Ionis’ novel antisense therapies are designed to target mRNA in a highly specific manner, so that the amount of disease-causing protein is dramatically decreased. Antisense therapies can also treat diseases caused by too little protein by increasing the production of the protein, thereby restoring the protein to normal levels.

The OBDS is an ingestible capsule based on a needle-free technology designed by Progenity to enable delivery of a drug formulated in a solution directly into the tissues of the small intestine, where it can be absorbed systemically.

“We’re excited to work with Ionis, a leader in nucleic-acid-based biotherapeutics, to collectively evaluate the ODBS platform for the oral delivery of antisense therapies,” said Harry Stylli, PhD, CEO, chairman of the board and co-founder of Progenity. “We believe the OBDS platform shows promise to transform the systemic delivery of diverse biotherapeutics via oral administration. Our primary focus has been the oral delivery of monoclonals, proteins, and peptides, and now we are potentially able to expand into nucleic-acid-based therapeutics.”

During the first phase of the study, Progenity and Ionis will evaluate the OBDS in conjunction with Ionis’ drug for in vitro compatibility and performance as well as in vivo safety, tolerability and performance in a preclinical canine model.

Progenity is developing an internal pipeline including PGN-OB1, an oral version of adalimumab and PGN-OB2, an oral version of a GLP-1 analog. The company expects that this collaboration could further demonstrate the versatility of the OBDS in delivering a range of different molecules.

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