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Research and development

Italfarmaco is a concrete reality in the Italian pharmaceutical industry; it has been active in pharmaceutical research and development areas.

The first molecule (imidazole salicylate) developed in its Research Center was a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, marketed in 1984. Subsequently, a protein-iron complex was developed for the treatment of anemia resulting from iron deficiency, today marketed in over 20 countries worldwide. In 1988 the company started the marketing of choline alfoscerate, of which it also controlled the international development In the treatment of cerebral cognitive disorders such as vascular and non-vascular Alzheimer’s disease. In the cardiovascular area it was a pioneer in the development of antithrombotic drugs, such as unfractionated and low molecular weight heparin, in the chronic treatment of ischemic heart disease. The wide experience acquired in the prophylaxis and therapy of venous and arterial thrombosis enabled Italfarmaco to demonstrate in the literature, by a randomized clinical trial of over 1,200 patients, the increased risk of thrombosis in ambulatory patients undergoing chemotherapy for a solid malignant tumor, and above all the company had the opportunity to halve the resulting thrombotic risk by means of a nadroparine prophylaxis.

Its pipeline currently includes ongoing discovery and development projects. The main projects are currently divided into the following areas: inflammation, oncology, muscular and nervous degeneration and supportive care for oncologic patients.

Besides the development of new drugs, the R&S facility of Italfarmaco is also aimed at the development of new knowledge and new modes of employ of currently used drugs. This recently enabled it to provide physicians and patients with well-established molecules, by developing new therapeutic formulations enabling to obtain a better customization of therapy according to the patient’s characteristics. This is the formulation in drops of an antidepressant and a hypnotic agent, paroxetine and zolpidem respectively, but especially for the only elective drug in the treatment of Amiotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, riluzole. The availability of riluzole in the liquid form facilitates treatment in these patients even in case of dysphagia or if they should need enteral feeding with percutaneous catheters.

The goal of Italfarmaco research activity is to provide physicians and patients with more effective and safer drugs aimed at improving health and ensuring a better quality of life to patient populations.

In the anti-inflammatory area new pro-inflammatory cytokine selective inhibitors are currently being developed, orally active, for the treatment of acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.

In the oncologic area its activities are aimed at the development of small synthetic molecules for the modulation of epigenetic manifestations of mutated oncologic cells and in the preparation of a humanized antibody platform conjugated with anti-tumoral molecules.

In the muscular degeneration a new drug is being developed aimed at correcting epigenetic changes underlying muscular degenerative diseases such as Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.

The development of supportive care for oncologic patients is aimed at preventing and/or treating the complications of neoplasms and related treatments.

The company is also developing sustained-release parenteral drug delivery systems, potentially useful in many therapeutic areas, especially in the oncologic area, in order to improve the treatment of chronic disease, thus enhancing patient adherence.

Italfarmaco SpA is not the only R&S concrete reality of the Group. There are R&S units also in the Chemi SpA subsidiaries, located in Milan and Frosinone, and Italfarmaco S.A., located in Madrid. Chemi is one of the leading companies in the manufacturing of active ingredients, provided with advanced skills in the manufacturing of biological products, phospholipids, peptides and in the chemistry of chiral products. This results in a conspicuous alliance, where Chemi supports Italfarmaco in the chemical development and manufacturing of innovative complex molecules and Italfarmaco SpA takes care of the development of formulation and clinical systems for active ingredients manufactured by Chemi. The R&S activity of the Spanish subsidiary is aimed at the development of drugs, supplements and health devices in the wide area of “women’s health”, which is one of the Group’s major business interests.