Circa 2015 created a flutter of excitement in the pharmaceutical world when scientists unearthed patents filed in the 1970s and found it supporting the claims of a modified drug manufactured in the USA. The SD-809 drug is a deuterated drug that is awaiting the FDA’s approval to get on shelves and help cure palsy in patients affected by Huntington’s chorea. One flagged off, the SD-809 could help physicians lower the dosage of the medicine thanks to the deuterium molecule present in this medicine. Wondering how? Here’s the catch.
Most often than not the body’s metabolism breaks down a medicine faster than it can dissolve into the bloodstream, often excreting parts of it that could otherwise have proven helpful to the body. By replacing a few hydrogen atoms in the medicine with its isotope deuterium, researchers were able to lower the rate of metabolic breakdown and increase its longevity in the body. This, researchers believe, will consequently improve the absorption of the medicine in the bloodstream and call for a lower dosage of medication.
Patent applications see red, but are bouncing back
While several deuterated drugs are seeing the light of day awaiting approvals for medical use, it has been found that selective deuteration can help create a new chemical entity with reduced risk, especially to address unmet medical needs. Encouraged by this, several pharmaceutical companies started knocking on the doors of patent rights to their intellectual property over the last decade. However, a look at the way these patent applications are performing at the US Patent Office reveals that several of them were rejected for being just deuterated versions of existing medicines. However, in recent years, several inventors are overcoming the inhibitions of the patent office by proving unexpected results achieved through the deuteration of molecules, turning them into potential drugs.
This does point to a very near future where deuterated drugs are going to take the courts by storm with legal battles against the innovative and the obvious. Whatever be the case, deuterated drugs are sure to reduce the intake of pills for patients, while they are going to get bitter for pharmaceutical researchers.