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IBSA bets on "orodispersible films", the latest frontier in oral administration

20 October 2020

It is now known that the most convenient form of medical treatment is oral therapy. This is not, however, the case for everyone. A large proportion of the population suffers from dysphagia i.e. they have difficulty swallowing liquid and solid foods. This pathology affects on average 10-15% of the adult population, reaching much higher peaks (80% and more) when we look at those who have suffered a heart attack or who have cognitive deficits.

IBSA has set itself the goal of overcoming this problem by developing orodispersible films, i.e. sheets the size of a postage stamp capable of conveying active ingredients, which dissolve easily in the mouth in contact with saliva.

Pharmafilm, a spin-off of the University of Milan founded by Professor Paola Minghetti, created the orodispersible films developed, produced and marketed by IBSA. Andrea Giori, Head of Research & Development at IBSA says that “Today, for IBSA, orodispersible films are a well-established product, since our first orodispersible drug for erectile dysfunction was launched on the market two years ago.”

The orodispersible films produced at IBSA Farmaceutici’s plants, protected by two international patents, represent an innovation in oral administration of active ingredients. The technology behind this innovation can currently only be leveraged by five or six companies around the world.

IBSA has decided to accelerate the development of this innovative form of oral administration, diversifying its use and also using orodispersible films for food supplements. Investing around €2 million, IBSA has built a second production line dedicated to this mission and the company recently launched the first orodispersible vitamin D3-based food supplement.

IBSA is also working on some major projects that, by 2021, will see the launch of a new drug and three further supplements.
The development margins in this sector are huge and the growth potential is enormous, since this is an administration pathway that is yet to be fully explored and remains somewhat unknown compared to traditional oral forms.

Andrea Giori and IBSA Research & Development team

From left to right: Irma Cupone, Eleonora Dellera, Andrea Giori, Fabio Marra, Simona Gianella, Roberta Lollini.

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