Dynamic partnerships for maximum impact: How our collaboration with Tandem Nano Ltd is fast-tracking our development programme

Posted on: 5 April 2023 by Andy Sloan in LONGEVITY Blog

Maintaining adherence to medication is often a huge challenge to patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Reasons for poor adherence can be quite complex. They may run out of tablets and are unable to get a new supply, they may forget to take their medicine or they simply don’t like taking tablets daily due to the difficult side effects they can cause. Regardless of the reason for poor adherence, there is overwhelming evidence that supports the need for a different approach to healthcare within affected communities.

This is why CELT was awarded a £30.5 million ($40m) grant by global health agency Unitaid to lead an international research consortium through the LONGEVITY project. Together with our international partners, we are developing long-acting medicines for malaria and TB prevention, as well as a single-injection cure for hepatitis C virus. Our aim is to improve adherence and completion rates to medication by replacing chronic oral dosing with a long-acting injectable alternative that requires administration far less frequently.

LONGEVITY is a project that harnesses the power of collaboration and combines leadership in materials chemistry, pharmacology, regulatory expertise and community engagement. Together the LONGEVITY consortium will develop, de-risk and deliver long-acting injectable solutions to those who are most in need.

Our strategy

When it comes to developing long-acting products, repurposing pre-existing oral medications can have significant benefits. The efficacy and toxicity of the drug is already established and it has already been approved for use by regulators like the FDA so there are fewer regulatory hurdles to overcome which can make the development process quicker. For this reason, we are focused on developing reformulated versions of pre-existing medications to create new and improved formulations.

Our new formulations are particularly suited to LMICs where the burden of disease is highest and healthcare services can be interrupted due to facilities and staff being overwhelmed and patients experiencing difficulty in adhering to complex oral regimens. Our long-acting medicines can eliminate pill burden, simplify drug delivery and improve adherence for the millions of people in need of life saving medication.

Tandem Nano Ltd

Tandem Nano Ltd (TNL) spun out from University of Liverpool in 2019 and lies at the heart of the UK’s initiative to support innovation in both Materials Chemistry and Life Sciences. They are one of the critical partners on LONGEVITY, focused on the development of its proprietary SDN technology platform. It is with SDN technology that we will create nanoparticles of pre-existing drugs to create long-acting formulations.

Tandem’s role on the LONGEVITY Project is critical in solving the problems of bioavailability and also in extending patent life with new improved LA formulations that can improve the therapeutic as well as overcome issue relating to the use of certain drugs due to their frequency or complexity of administration.

What are Solid Drug Nanoparticles?

SDNs are tiny particles of a drug stabilised by water soluble excipients. Because the composition of these nanoparticles is primarily drug, we can deliver a high dose of the drug through a waterborne injection. The formulation creates a drug reservoir at the injection site, allowing for a slow and sustained release of the drug into the bloodstream over an extended period of time. It’s an innovation that offers potential for rapid development at low cost and with optimal product performance for the communities most in need of new interventions.

Find out more about Solid Drug Nanoparticle Technologies

Progress through key partnerships

TNL represents a fast-paced and continuously growing start-up that has excelled as client-orientated business since it’s registration, having now established a client base within top ten pharma. They are committed to providing global, equitable access to treatment and medication in low- and middle-income areas through key partnerships such as the LONGEVITY consortium.

In 2021, TNL signed a licence agreement with The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) focused on the development of its SDN technology. This was an important step forward for the LONGEVITY consortium as the licence agreement will enable accelerated access to affordable, high-quality versions of these promising long-acting therapeutics to LMICs.

The TNL platforms generate high-drug loaded formulations for long-acting injectable administration. The technology is particularly compatible with drugs that are poorly water soluble, a key barrier in the development of new and existing drugs. The technology has previously presented novel and improved strategies that span multiple disease areas, for which TNL holds established IP. TNL is currently focused on the progression of a long-acting atovaquone formulation which may provide effective malaria prophylaxis options in LMICs.

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The LONGEVITY Project is funded by Unitaid

The project also involves critical partners and collaborators in the Clinton Health Access Initiative, Johns Hopkins University, Medicines Patent Pool, Tandem Nano Ltd., Treatment Action Group and the University of Nebraska Medical Center