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Welcome to the Empowered Patient Podcast with Karen Jagoda.  This show is a window into the latest innovations in applying generative AI, novel therapeutics and vaccines, and the changing dynamics in the medical and healthcare environment. One focus is on how providers, pharmaceutical companies, and payers are empowering patients.  In addition, conversations are often about how providers, care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and payers are being empowered by technology to improve patient outcomes and reduce friction across the healthcare landscape.

Popular Topics

  • Virtual and digital health
  • Use of AI, ML, and LLM in healthcare and drug discovery, development, trials
  • Value-based healthcare 
  • Precision and stratified medicine
  • Integration of digital technology into existing workflow and procedures 
  • Next-generation immuno, cell, and gene therapies
  • Vaccines
  • Biomarkers, sequencing, and imaging
  • Rare diseases
  • MedTech and medical devices
  • Clinical trials
  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health
  • Treating chronic conditions like obesity and pain
  • Clinician and staff burnout

The audience includes life science leaders, researchers, medical professionals, patient advocates, digital health entrepreneurs, patients, caregivers, healthcare solution providers, students, journalists, and investors. 


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Empowered Patient Solutions

Oct 18, 2023

Anthony Mack, CEO of Virpax Pharma, is developing non-addictive pain drugs focusing on repurposing existing molecules and improving the delivery platform to enhance bioavailability and sustained delivery. With an initial focus on postoperative pain management and preventing opioid tolerance, their product, Probudur, is a long-lasting local anesthetic for sustained pain control. The asset Envelta uses a molecular envelope technology to protect enkephalin as it passes through the blood-brain barrier to attach to delta receptors in the brain to control pain.  

Anthony explains, "Now, in the case of the enkephalin asset, as far as tolerance is concerned, we have a product that isn't enkephalin. It's a peptide, and peptides are endogenous materials already in our bodies. Now, we can't generate enough to have pain control, so it would be nice if we could administer them. If an enkephalin can get past the blood-brain barrier, it attaches to the brain's delta receptors. There are immune receptors in the brain, too, that everybody's familiar with because they know morphine, oxycodone, Oxycontin, hydrocodone, and Vicodin. They know these actives, but the problem is that when they attach to these mu receptors, there is a potential for respiratory depression, drug-seeking behavior, and intolerance."  

"Yes, that is a great collaboration we have. It's an open, what we call CRADA, or some people may call it an in-kind grant, but it's a cooperation agreement for all of our pain assets, including Envelta. But we started with the Probudur asset because the US Army wanted to study the long-acting bupivacaine in battlefield wound injuries. What they want to do is be able to inject this asset at a wound site and have the soldiers participate in their evacuation, should they need to evacuate."  

"The great thing about liposomal bupivacaine in our Probudur formulation is it does not cause a motor block. What I mean by that is because local anesthetics stay numb, in this case, you're still able to function, you're still able to move your extremities. The idea here is that it would block it for 96 hours, enough time for a soldier to extract themselves without so much assistance or without the use of an opioid to block their pain."

#VirpasPharma #PainManagement #NonAddictive #PainControl

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