- Published on 15 November 2018
Pharmafile, a leading portal for pharmaceutical industry news, events, and service company listings, recently ran an article on hearing loss as the next frontier for pharmaceutical success.
Nawal Ouzren, CEO of Sensorion, biopharmaceutical company developing small molecule therapeutics for inner ear diseases, explored the recent therapies and developments in this area.
The article highlights how the inaccessibility of the inner ear poses a significant hurdle to research and development of targeted drugs. It points out that it is very difficult to deliver drugs to the inner ear, whether via the local or systemic routes. Because of the sensitivity of the area, the human ear has evolved strict control over what can and cannot enter the cochlear and vestibular fluids of the inner ear.
“For this reason, it is critical that therapeutic approaches to addressing either vertigo or hearing loss are able to overcome the physical and/or physiological barriers to inner ear delivery,” the article explains.
The avenues of research and development that may provide promising results include the growth of new hair cells using both small molecules and gene therapy, gels that transition into liquids at body temperature to provide sustained drug exposure, sustained-exposure formulations, and micropump technology that would aim to deliver drugs safely to the inner ear.
Other possibilities involve improving auditory processing once the sound waves reach the brainstem, and reaching inner ear tissues systemically using orally administered candidate drugs. The article concludes that great progress has been made in recent years in developing novel treatments for hearing loss and inner ear disorders. More breakthroughs are expected in the near future.