Peptides are an important class of drugs, but their potential for treating chronic diseases will be fully realized only if more acceptable delivery methods than daily injections can be developed. Recognition of this has led to advances in oral, intranasal, inhaled, transdermal, and buccal formulations. This report analyses the products and companies at the forefront of such research.
The demise of Exubera, an inhaled insulin product, has had a knock-on effect on the inhaled insulin technologies and there are now few still in development, despite products offering strong advantages such as fast absorption, fast onset of action, and a non-invasive mode of administration.
New oral nanotechnology peptide formulations are showing promise, particularly in the area of insulin and GLP-1 analog delivery. New long-acting peptides and controlled release injectable formulations are extending peptide half-lives significantly, leading to weekly and even monthly subcutaneous injectable formulations.
First- and second-generation transdermal patch technologies were not suitable for peptide drug delivery due to the need for low molecular weight and low dose loading, but third-generation patch technologies (such as thermal ablation, microneedles, vesicular carriers, and iontophoresis) are offering promise in the delivery of several peptides.