The Stockhouse poster, kuatolives, has posted an article about focused ultrasound (FU). Although FU has been around for a while, it’s probably wise to comment on it again. (Some Stockhouse posters, kuatolives included, post almost exclusively about topics that they think may be threats to the biOasis Transcend Platform and to shareholders’ investment in biOasis. I will sometimes comment about this and other Stockhouse stuff here, under the title, “SHtuff”.)
FU is a means of temporarily opening the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in a specific location in the brain. With the combined use of air bubbles, MRI, passive cavitation detection and focused ultrasound, it is possible to push the cells of the BBB apart at a targeted area and to then allow a drug to be delivered directly to the targeted area. It has been in the news for the past several years and has had more coverage in the popular, financial and medical media in the past several months. It’s interesting and does have specific uses, but if Transcend works as hoped then FU cannot compete with it in some critical ways.
Because each administration of FU requires expensive equipment and several specialists, the cost per treatment is very high. Further, opening the BBB is hazardous. Although the drug can be delivered, some of it can also leak back through the still-open BBB. Also, the open BBB can allow other things to pass through in either direction, some things that should remain in the brain leaking out, other things leaking into the brain that should not get in there.
The real benefit of the ultrasound method compared to Transcend is that very toxic drugs can be delivered to a specific place the brain, preventing toxic effects from occurring in other parts of the brain and body. The need for this targeted approach is rare compared to normal treatments for which Transcend would be the better choice.
Transcend (described here) has the distinct advantage of delivering drugs into the brain (CNS) without disrupting the normal protections of the BBB. Further, Transcend-based therapeutics can be administered by injection, or more often, by infusion. The cost of administration will therefore be orders of magnitude less than the costs associated with focused ultrasound.
In my opinion, focused ultrasound poses no threat to biOasis and the Transcend Platform.
Another poster, digitel, provided a link to an article about Phase 0 trials at The Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. The article makes an excellent case for the benefits of Phase 0 trials, including the speed with which trials can be conducted. However, biOasis investors should note the exploratory nature of these trials and that The Barrow Neurological Institute does not state what drugs will be tested.
I would imagine that The Barrow Neurological Institute scientists have reasons to test each selected drug but these reasons are unlikely to be as compelling as the case made by biOasis for taking the MTfp-TZM fusion protein (Transcend peptide and trastuzumab or Herceptin®) into Phase 0 trials. For almost 20 years, trastuzumab has been one of the most successful cancer-fighting drugs (HER2+ breast cancer) and has been shown to be efficacious in studies when administered by intrathecal methods to the CNS.
I think that the biOasis Phase 0 trial will be widely watched and, if successful, will generate some serious media (and investor) attention. Meanwhile, we’ll watch The Barrow Neurological Institute for news. Because so few drugs can cross the BBB, my guess is that The Barrow Neurological Institute will be testing drugs that cannot adequately cross the BBB and could be candidates for transport by Transcend.
© 2017 John N. Davenport