CraniUS and Medical Product Laboratories Partner for Device-Based Drug Delivery

Baltimore-based CraniUS inked a strategic partnership deal with Philadelphia-based Medical Product Laboratories (MPL). A CraniUS spokesperson told BioBuzz that it is developing a fully embedded, fully implantable wireless medical device to allow long-term drug delivery directly to the brain. They will be leveraging MPL’s drug manufacturing expertise related to stability and safety testing for CraniUS’s preclinical and clinical development plans.

The company declined to discuss details of its approach other than to refer to convention-enhanced delivery (CED). CED creates a pressure gradient at the end of an infusion catheter to deliver medications directly through the interstitial spaces of the central nervous system, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is believed to allow for delivery through the blood-brain barrier in both a targeted and safe fashion at therapeutic drug concentrations.

As part of the deal, Elliot Stone, President and CEO of MPL, and Scot Stone, Executive Vice President of MPL, will serve on CraniUS’s board of directors and, according to the press statement, “participate as investors.” The CraniUS spokesperson emphasizes that the two Stones are individual investors, and that this does not refer to a direct investment from MPL.

MPL calls itself a comprehensive contract manufacturing and packaging service. Its focus is on pharmaceutical, veterinary, and dietary supplement industries. It offers manufacturing, packaging and laboratory services, as well as regulatory expertise.

“CraniUS is honored to have a world-class partner on the drug manufacturing side in Medical Product Laboratories,” said Michael Maglin, CEO of CraniUS in a press statement. “Elliot Stone, Scot Stone, and their experienced team are some of the most respected leaders in the space and therefore deliver a perfect match for us to balance our delivery device solution with their drug side expertise. Without question, this partnership opens numerous opportunities for us to enable multiple brain disease treatments, including GBM (Glioblastoma multiforme).”

In February, CraniUS appointed Sharon Wolfington to Vice Chair for its board of directors. Most recently, Wolfington acted as the President and CEO at Acumed. Previous positions were with Stryker and DJO Global. She also serves on the board of directors at AdvaMed, a global advocacy organization.

“I am thrilled to join the CraniUS’ Board of Directors and to help lead the company in building the world’s first fully implantable, wireless medical device that enables chronic and direct delivery of medicine to the brain,” Wolfington stated at the time.

In late 2022, the company appointed Henry Brem, MD, to its board. Brem is the Harvey Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurosurgeon-in-Chief at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Although information about CraniUS is sparse, its cofounder and Chief Technical Officer, Deborah Weidman, and Director of Mechanical Engineering, John Cai, earned bachelor’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University in 2021 and 2020, respectively. Chad Gordon, DO, Professor & Director, Neuroplastic and Reconstructive Surgery at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is a co-founder and acts as Chief Medical Officer.

In late September 2022, CraniUS closed on a Series A financing round worth $19.4 million. The round was entirely funded by private investors. The money raised was to develop its flagship device toward clinical trials. The company was founded in May 2021.

In the most recent press release, Elliot Stone stated, “MPL is truly excited to partner with this incredible mission. As Board Directors for CraniUS, we are thrilled to know our team is helping to build the world’s first fully implantable, wireless medical device that enables long-term, direct brain medicine delivery. We firmly believe that this patented device can drive improved outcomes for millions of patients suffering from brain disease and so we are proud to be part of this journey.”