Daniel Barber is chief operating officer at Aquestive Therapeutics, a specialty pharmacy company that is highly focused on providing treatment options for persons unable to properly swallow medicine (e.g., people with epilepsy, ALS, Parkinson’s, etc).
Recently, we talked to Barber about the company’s lead compound, Sympazan (clobazam) to treat Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.
Sympazam is special formulation in which the anti-epileptic drug clobazam is on a special dissolvable film that a patient can put on their tongue.
Barber said, “we typically use a product called Pharmfilm Technology and if you think
of a polymeric matrix that dissolves in the oral cavity. That’s really the basis of the technology,” adding, ”dysphasia is a major problem in a lot of disease states especially in the rare disease community. So people who have trouble swallowing is something that we focus on quite a bit. We also have the ability to absorb drugs through the oral cavity and by doing that we can avoid the GI tract and potentially make it a more effective.”
Sympazan was approved in December 2018 to treat patients with Lennox-Gastaut disease, a rare neurological disorder characterized for its high rate of seizures and cognitive impairment. Barber added, “ there’s a high population with dysphasia and this (Sympazan) allows them to take the drug without difficulty.”
“When we did our market research, one of the things we heard was patients with tablets or liquids – you had the caregiver actually sitting on them on a couch to administer medication (pills or injections). So, think about a film that you can put into a patient’s mouth. It goes right ion the tongue, adheres immediately , and begins to dissolve. No swallowing ,no water, no difficulty in administration, and we found that to be a major improvement for that patient population and since we’ve been in the marketplace,” noted Barber.
For more information, visit https://aquestive.com