A persistent problem in medicine is the ability to specifically target diseased cells and tissues. Drugs are often administered as free compounds. This nonspecific mode of delivery relies on the drug molecules to serendipitously reach target cells. There is a need to increase the specificity of drug delivery, reduce toxicity of drug compounds, and increase their half-life in the body in order to enhance outcomes of therapies.

Listed below are the major milestones in the history of FDA approval of nanomedicines, as identified by GlobalData.

1990 – Sigma-Tau Pharmaceuticals releases Adagen which is the first nanomedicine to use synthetic nanoparticles (PEG) for severe combined immunodeficiency disease (SCID).

1994 – Enzon Pharmaceuticals releases Oncaspar for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

1995 – The first approved drugs encapsulated in liposomes are released by Sigma-tau (Abelcet) and Janssen (Doxil) to treat fungal infection and Kaposi’s sarcoma, respectively.

1999 – Eisai Inc releases Ontak, the first approved protein nanoparticle combined with a drug (diphtheria toxin) to treat cutaneous T-cell lymphoma.

2004 – Pacira Pharmaceuticals releases DepoDur, a liposomal encapsulation of morphine for post-operative pain relief.

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2008 – UCB releases Cimzia, a PEGylated certolizumab antibody fragment to treat Crohn’s disease.

2012 – Onco TCS releases Marqibo, composed of the anti-cancer drug vincristine in a liposome to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

2015 – Biogen releases Plegridy, PEGylated Interferon-beta (IFN- β1a), to treat multiple sclerosis.

2017 – Novo Nordisk releases Rebinyn, PEGylated coagulation factor IX for haemophilia B patients.

2017 – Jazz Pharmaceuticals announces Vyxeos, a combination of daunorubicin and cytarabine in a liposome to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

This is an edited extract from the Nanotechnology in Medicine – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.