Evendale-based Enable Injections has entered into separate development agreements with two more companies, Apellis Pharmaceuticals and UCB.
The disposable medical device pioneered by Enable will allow patients to self-inject prescription drugs with the touch of a button.
The so-called enFuse device could be used to inject a large dose of medicine to combat anything from cancer to hemophilia. “En” stands for Enable and “fuse” is short for infuse.
“We are conducting human clinical trials using the enFuse technology to deliver our novel complement immunotherapies subcutaneously,” said Dr. Cedric Francois, co-founder and CEO of Apellis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: APLS), which is based in Crestwood, Ky., outside Louisville.
“With our broad therapeutic application, we are excited to partner with Enable to bring promising new therapies with a more patient-centric drug delivery system to patients in need,” Francois said.
The enFuse device could replace more costly intravenous infusions that require visiting a health care facility.
“Because enFuse frees patients to self-administer at home, it greatly enhances patient experience and overall patient value,” said Jeff Wren, head of the Neurology Patient Value Unit of Belgium-based UCB. “enFuse is the right answer for patient needs, which makes it a great addition to our program.”
Enable Injections now has partnerships with five companies that plan to use the enFuse drug delivery device.
“Pharmaceutical companies racing to improve outcomes and be recognized as patient-centric are realizing the symbiosis between drug and delivery,” said Mike Hooven, CEO of Enable. “They are partnering with Enable Injections to improve the patient experience with the aim of increasing adherence and achieving the outcomes necessary for commercial success.”
Patient feedback on the treatment experience is considered by regulatory agencies that approve new drugs. For patients with chronic and often asymptomatic conditions, it is often the delivery, not the drug, that defines their experience and adherence to ongoing therapy, according to Enable.
The Enable injector would be worn on the abdomen, where it could be covered by clothing. After medicine is dispensed, the needle automatically retracts, the patient peels the device off and then throws it away.
Approval from the Food and Drug Administration is still needed to market the Enable device in the U.S. The device is expected to be used in other countries before then.
Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital conceived the technology that Enable is developing.
I reported last month that Enable had completed a first closing of a Series B round that raised more than $40 million, one of the largest investments in a Cincinnati company ever made by venture capitalists. The investment was led by Sanofi, a Paris-based company that is the world’s third-largest pharma firm based on sales of $39.5 billion.
The money raised in the round is to help Enable gear up for high-volume manufacturing.