where it counts.
Dosing active ingredients precisely and purposefully is an art in itself. It’s an art that Evonik has mastered by means of polymers for the pharmaceutical industry— and one that could generate innovative treatments against numerous illnesses.
Today people are growing older than ever before. Within four generations, life expectancy has more than doubled all over the world. In the period since 1990, child mortality has been cut in half. This is primarily thanks to the successful struggle against infectious diseases. Today medicine is focusing all the more on noninfectious and chronic diseases, which have long been responsible for the great majority of deaths—especially in developing countries and emerging economies. Diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diseases of the respiratory tract are four of the most important fields of medical and pharmaceutical research.
Active ingredients that can precisely intervene in the body’s internal processes even in tiny doses are regarded as especially promising. But researchers are also increasingly looking for the optimal way to administer them. Especially in the case of active ingredients with complex molecules, it is very difficult to ensure that they will be available inside the body in a targeted way as continuously as possible. It is difficult to administer some active ingredients in tablet form, either because they disintegrate in the digestive tract or cannot be absorbed through the intestinal wall. Other active ingredients need to do their work locally, for example in a joint, a certain tissue or an organ, continuously for several weeks or months. That requires frequent injections. As a result, the concentration of the active ingredient in the tissue peaks at first, but then gradually decreases. In addition, every injection increases the patient’s risk of infection, not to mention the unpleasant direct effects on the patient.
Head of Evonik Pharma Polymers & Services Product Line
One solution that involves oral as well as parenteral dosage is offered by pharmaceutical polymers from Evonik Industries. They make it possible to release orally administered active ingredients at the right time and place in the gastrointestinal tract and to transport them from there into the bloodstream continuously in precise doses. This has made it possible to administer some active ingredients in tablet form for the first time ever. Others can now be taken once a day rather than at regular intervals over 24 hours. Biologically absorbable polymers from Evonik now make it possible to formulate parenteral depot medications that can be injected directly beneath the skin or into the affected tissue. There, customized microparticles then continuously release the active ingredient in a targeted way before they themselves are disintegrated and absorbed by the body in a natural process.
These depot medications in particular harbor tremendous potential. Evonik is cooperating with major customers from the pharmaceutical industry and also with creative startups to develop formulations for the treatment of diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis, as well as acute injuries, rare diseases such as solar urticaria, which is a severe form of solar allergy, and psychological disorders such as depression and schizophrenia.
Evonik is providing important and comprehensive support, especially in its cooperation with creative startups that are developing new types of treatment. From the initial idea to the development of a prototype, creation of the patterns for clinical studies, and manufacture of the final product, Evonik supports the development process and the steps leading toward commercial production. In this way it ensures that an active ingredient actually gets to the places where it’s needed.
Bioresorbable polymers from Evonik have proven their worth for years—in the form of surgical screws, for example. The screws do not need to be removed, which cuts costs and the risks posed by an additional operation. Moreover, they can be filled with active ingredients that support healing where it’s needed.