Eride Quarta, PhD student in Drugs, Biomolecules and Health Products of the University of Parma, coordinator Prof. Marco Mor, received the “Best Poster Award” Award, at the EUFEPS Annual Meeting 2019, held in Frankfurt, Germany, 6-8 March 2019.

The award was given for the presentation of the research “Pulmonary administration of a novel insulin powder in comparison to Afrezza”, carried out in collaboration with Prof. Francesca Buttini and Prof. Paolo Colombo and Prof. Elisabetta Barocelli, of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences of the University of Parma.

The study involved an inhaled insulin powder, patented by the University of Parma. Insulin is currently administered subcutaneously or intravenously. An administration by inhalation avoids the invasiveness of the injection pathway. An inhalation formulation exists in the USA as an inhalation powder (Afrezza®) which contains 18% insulin with fumaryl-diketopiperazine. The presence of excipients in formulations for chronic administration could increase adverse reactions in the lung. Furthermore, Afrezza must be stored at 2-8 ° C.

The new formulation of insulin powder of the University of Parma is manufactured by spray-drying, starting from an acid solution of the peptide; it is free of excipients, and, pre-dosed in capsules (Qualicaps) is stable at room temperature for the time of use. This new pure insulin showed very high respirability. Its prompt action reduces glucose levels similarly to those of fast-acting insulin, but with better control of hypoglycemia. The effect starts faster and has a shorter duration of action than the injected subcutaneous products.

Eride Quarta carries out its research activity at the Department of Food and Drug Sciences of the University of Parma, taking advantage of the Higher Education and Research Apprenticeship contract offered by SME parmigiana PlumeStars, established in September 2013 at the University of Parma , which designs and develops orphan medicinal products.

The research activity of Dr. Quarta focuses on the European project CUPIDO, within the Horizon2020 program, which aims to develop an innovative inhalation therapy for cardiovascular diseases, building respirable microparticles, containing nanoparticles loaded with drugs or biomolecules for a release directly to the diseased heart.