Published on 22 Nov, 2013
Nanocapsules are submicroscopic colloidal drug carrier systems made up of an oily or an aqueous core in-turn surrounded by a thin polymer membrane. Nanocapsules can be made by two technologies; either the interfacial polymerization of a monomer or the interfacial nanodeposition of a preformed polymer. Anti-cancer drug delivery embedded in nanocapsules is on high demand in the present pharmaceutical front owing to various advantages:
- Improved stability of active substances
- Biocompatible with tissue and cells when synthesized from materials that are either biocompatible or biodegradable
- High drug encapsulation efficiency due to optimized drug solubility in the core
- Low polymer content compared to other nanoparticulated systems such as nanospheres
- Exhibits drug polymeric shell protection against degradation factors like pH and light
- Reduced tissue irritation due to the presence of polymeric shell
Approximately 1500 unique patents in the field of nanocapsular medicinal preparations were applied for the said time period. There is a constant filing trend in the area of nanocapsular drug delivery.
University of California, Fujifilm holdings, Elan pharma, Central Nat Rech Scient, Iceutica, Abraxis and Flamel technologies are the major organizations that are investing in the technology development of nanocapsular medicinal preparations.
The patent origination in United States and Japan ranked high. This shows that the said geographies are those major sources of research inputs in the field of medicinal preparations using nanocapsules.
Image source: Aranca Analysis based on Thomson Innovation data
Some of the problems addressed by the recent technologies are:
- The transport of active agents encapsulated in droplets to the skin and their bioavailability in the epidermis is low: Recent development in technology provides a penetrating colloidal carrier system enabling an increased encapsulation of lipophilic agents which can be produced in a simple manner.
- Site specific delivery of therapeutic agents: Site specific delivery of various active agents or pharmaceutical agents; in case of treating complex diseases like cancer and other pulmonary diseases has been achieved using nanocapsules.
- Greater therapeutic efficiency for poorly water soluble drugs: Various methods for preparing poorly water soluble drug particles; having an average particle diameter in nanometer scale is achieved by recent technologies.
The number of patent publications in this field shows high technology advancement in the field. This refers to the fact that the field of nanocapsular medicinal preparations is still in the growth phase.
Number of patent filings by the major players listed above indicates the high competition in this field. University of California holds a good number of recent patented technologies in the field. Elan pharmaceuticals, Abraxis and Flamel are the other big pharmaceuticals in this competitive field.