MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Nov. 17 Based on its recentanalysis of the osteoporosis therapeutics market, Frost & Sullivan presentsMerrion Pharmaceuticals (IEX: MERR) with the 2008 North American Frost &Sullivan Award for Osteoporosis Technology Innovation of the Year, inrecognition of the company's successful application of its innovativegastrointestinal permeation enhancement technology (GIPET(R)) that creates animproved version of alendronate, MER-103 (Almerol(TM)).
This innovative and novel technology has resulted in MER-103(Almerol(TM)), yielding such benefits as increased bioavailability, safety,and convenience, as compared to that of the currently marketed osteoporosisdrug, Fosamax (alendronate).
Osteoporosis is the most prevalent bone disease in the United States, withan estimated 11.2 million Americans affected and an additional 46.4 millionAmericans having osteopenia or low bone mass. This group is at an increasedrisk of fractures, particularly of the hip, spine, and wrist, and theimportance of new treatment options becomes more apparent. The activeingredient found in Fosamax, the U.S.'s top selling medication forosteoporosis in 2008, is alendronate. This popular bisphosphonate works byreducing the activity of osteoclasts, the cells that break down bone, and hasproven effective at reducing the incidence of hip and spine fractures andimproving bone mineral density.
"The currently available form of alendronate has poor bioavailability andis associated with unpleasant side effects, including esophageal and stomachirritation," explains Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katheryn Symank."Moreover, to increase bioavailability and to minimize gastrointestinal sideeffects, patients are faced with a complicated dosing regimen, which hasresulted in poor patient compliance."
The recommended dosage for the currently marketed drug, alendronate, isone pill taken with a full glass of water 30 minutes to one hour before anyfood intake. In addition, the patient is advised not to lie down for at least30 minutes after taking their medication.
Merrion's GIPET(R) technology has enabled a novel formulation ofalendronate MER-103 (Almerol(TM)). With GIPET(R) technology, medications thatare not well absorbed can be evolved to yield improved performance incharacteristics such as bioavailability, drug efficacy, and safety. Not onlydoes this allow for less of the active ingredient to be used to achieve thesame therapeutic benefit, but it also can allow for more convenient dosingschedules. Moreover, the use of this technology does not require any chemicalmodification to the active ingredient.
"An oral version of alendronate, MER-103 (Almerol(TM)) has an increase inbioavailability of 15-fold when taken at night, or 12-fold when taken after anovernight fast," adds Symank. "This improvement allows for less alendronate tobe used in the medication. For example, it estimated that 6mg of MER-103(Almerol(TM)) is equivalent to a 70 mg dose of oral alendronate's currentlymarketed formulation."
In recognition of MER-103 (Almerol(TM))'s drug benefits -- includingimproved bioavailability, a more attractive safety profile, and a simplifieddosing regimen compared to that of the currently marketed formulation -- thatare important in improving drug development in the osteoporosis area, Frost &Sullivan is proud to present the 2008 Osteoporosis Technology Innovation ofthe Year Award to Merrion Pharmaceuticals.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that hasdemonstrated technological innovation within its industry. The awardrecognizes the ability of the company to successfully develop and introducenew/disruptive technology, formulate a well-designed product family, and makesignificant technology contributions to the industry.
Frost & Sullivan's Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a varietyof regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement andsuperior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation,customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts comparemarket participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews,analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practicesin the industry.
About Merrion Pharmaceutical
Merrion Pharmaceuticals (http://www.merrionpharma.com) is a publiclylisted specialty pharmaceutical company engaged in the development of oralforms (tablets/capsules) of drugs that have poor absorption and are generallygiven by injection. Merrion was established in 2004 to commercialise varioustechnologies acquired from Elan Corporation, plc. Merrion's patented drugdelivery technologies increase bioavailability, by improving absorption in thegastrointestinal tract, of drugs that are otherwise poorly absorbed. This canprovide substantial benefit in patient convenience and safety, and might alsoprovide enhanced drug efficacy. Merrion utilises its technology to develop neworal drugs in two ways; it develops its own proprietary drugs using GIPET(R)and partners with other pharmaceutical companies in developing oral GIPET(R)formulations of their products.
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