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In vitro and in vivo assessment of the abuse potential of PF614, a novel BIO-MD™ prodrug of oxycodone

D. Lynn Kirkpatrick, PhD, William K. Schmidt, PhD, Ricardo Morales, BSc, John Cremin, PhD, Julie Seroogy, BSc, Craig Husfeld, PhD, Thomas Jenkins, PhD


Objective: The need for pain medication which will not lead to abuse is well recognized. Ensysce has designed prodrug analogs of the commonly used pain medications including hydromorphone, oxycodone (OC), hydrocodone, and morphine that limit their use to oral delivery, two of which are in clinical development. This study was undertaken to demonstrate that PF614, an extended-release prodrug of OC, allows the release of OC as designed when delivered orally, yet it resists ex vivo extraction with household chemicals and is pharmacologically inactive when administered by nonoral routes (nasal and parenteral), thereby substantially reducing its intravenous (IV) and intranasal abuse potential.

Methods: In vitro and in vivo methods were used to determine release of OC from PF614 and to show potential μ-opioid receptor activity. Plasma and cerebral spinal fluid levels of OC were evaluated following in vivo IV administration of PF614 in rats. In vitro extraction of OC from PF614 was explored using enzymes, common solvents, and household chemicals at room temperature and elevated temperature over time to determine release of OC from the prodrug.

Results: PF614 was stable with in vitro exposure to human plasma, saliva, and liver microsomes or culinary enzyme preparations. PF614 was stable (90 percent remaining as intact prodrug) under all room temperature conditions evaluated for 24 hours. At 80 °C for 1 hour, no OC was released. Incubation at 80 °C for 24 hours in vinegar or vodka produced a conversion to OC of 6 percent. Incubation with trypsin at 37 °C converted PF614 approximately stoichiometric to OC with half-life of 4 hours. PF614's penetration of the central nervous system was 83-fold lower than OC and it had a 6.5-fold reduced potency as a μ-opioid agonist. Finally, oral PF614 delivers OC into plasma with an extended-release profile in dogs (reduced Cmax; delayed Tmax).

Conclusions: The Bio-Activated Molecular Delivery prodrug design limits the use of PF614 to the intended oral route of delivery with reduced potential for IV or nasal abuse, as it cannot be activated intravenously or nasally to provide an active opioid. Unlike existing opioid formulations, the extended-release profile of PF614 cannot be accelerated by chewing or ex vivo extraction to pharmacologically active substances.


opioid abuse deterrence, Bio-MDTM oxycodone prodrug, PF614, extended-release opioid

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