Rethinking the paradigm for the development of inhaled drugs

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Abstract

Nebulized treatment is an important delivery option for the young, elderly, and those with severe chronic respiratory disease, but there is a lack of new nebulized drug products being produced for these patients, leading to the potential for under-treatment. This communication describes a new drug development paradigm as a timely solution to this issue. Often, drug development is initiated with nebulizers in the early stages, to provide cheaper and faster drug development, and then switched to inhaler devices in later clinical trials to address the majority of patients. However, the waste of resource on parallel development of the inhaler can be large due to the high early attrition rate of new drug development. The new paradigm uses the nebulizer to continue drug development through to market, and initiates inhaler development after completion of the riskier early phase studies. New drug safety and efficacy can be assessed faster and more efficiently by using a nebulized formulation rather than developing an inhaler. The results of calculations of expected net present value showed that the new paradigm produced higher expected net present values than the conventional model over a range of economic scenarios. This new paradigm could therefore provide improved returns on investments, as well as more modern drugs in nebulized form for those patients unable to use inhalers.

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