News Feature | June 22, 2015

Teva, Microchips Biotech Team On Drug Delivery Microchip

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq

Microchips Biotech's fingernail-sized microchip array. Image courtesy of Microchips Biotech.

Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., and Lexington, Mass.-based Microchips Biotech, Inc. have announced a collaboration to combine Teva's large portfolio of generic drugs with Microchips Biotech’s implantable drug delivery device. The partnership aims to improve medication adherence and compliance among patients suffering from various conditions, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis.

Under the terms of the agreement, announced via a press release, Teva will render Microchips Biotech an upfront payment of $35 million as an equity investment and a technology access fee. Microchips Biotech also will receive development and commercial milestone payments, royalties on future product sales, and royalties on any products Teva may develop for additional indications beyond the initial focus on one disease area. Teva will conduct Phase II and Phase III trials and submit regulatory filings.

Microchips Biotech's self-contained, hermetically-sealed drug delivery device is made up of microchip arrays capable of storing hundreds of drug doses.  Each device can be wirelessly programmed to release those doses at specific times over the course of months or even years. The device is a fitting venture for Microchips Biotech founders and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers Robert Langer, Ph.D. and Michael J. Cima, Ph.D., who first described the idea of implant-delivered drugs in 1999 in the journal Nature.

“The microchip-based implant is truly at the intersection of digital technology and medicine and the future of drug delivery for patients who cannot tolerate needles, require regular self-administered injections or where compliance is critical to outcomes,” stated Michael Hayden, MD, PhD, Teva’s president of global R&D and chief scientific officer, in the release. “At Teva we are leading innovation in medicine with promising new drugs and solutions for drug adherence to improve patient outcomes and reduce unnecessary healthcare complications.”

Teva, the world's largest producer of generic drugs, can help Microchips Biotech bring its device to a wider market.

“This alliance with Teva provides a great opportunity to accelerate our technology to the market,” Microchips Biotech CEO Cheryl Blanchard said in an email to the Boston Globe. The company is developing its microchip drug delivery device, initially, for diabetes, contraceptives, multiple sclerosis, and osteoporosis. Investors include Medtronic, Polaris Partners, Intersouth Partners, Flybridge Capital Partners, and Interwest Partners.

This collaboration is the most recent in a string of drug-device combinations created in recent years and attempting to revolutionize how drugs are administered. Last year, MicroCHIPS introduced an electronically-triggered implantable contraceptive that can store up to 16 years of the contraceptive hormone levonorgestrel. Similar devices using microchip technology have been developed to diagnose type 1 diabetes, and to restore movement to paralyzed patients.