Preventing Intentional Overdosing of Solid Oral Drugs

Request Number REQ5345728
Due Date September 20, 2017
Author Tom Vranken
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Preventing Intentional Overdosing of Solid Oral Drugs
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing the German pharmaceutical company the Grünenthal group, seeks approaches to prevent intentional overdosing of oral, opioid-based pain killing drugs.


Grünenthal is a German pharmaceutical company that is specialized in inflammation and pain therapy. Very often the drugs contain strong and instantly working, pain suppressing compounds based on opioids. However, next to improving the patient’s life quality, this type of pain killers is also a potential target for intentional/recreational abuse, leading to disrupted lives and families. Hence, Grünenthal aims to find novel ways to control the release of active substances and to combat intentional abuse, thereby protecting users from potential harm.



Currently, the drugs are designed in such a way that the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) is immediately released in the stomach and absorbed in the bloodstream, rapidly relieving the patient from his/her pain (left-hand side).
In case multiple doses are taken all at once, a (potentially toxic) supratherapeutic amount of API immediately gets into the user’s bloodstream (center). This amount is illicitly used to induce euphoria and could be potentially toxic. Grünenthal’s intention is to design a drug formulation that guarantees the API's release profile in case of proper therapeutical usage. However, in case multiple drug units are taken, the release of API, that is available for absorption (right-hand side), will be limited or, at least, decreased to avoid overdosing.


The objective of this RFP is to find formulation technologies that prevent the intentional overdose of opioid-based painkilling tablets.


Key Success Criteria

The successful formulation technology has to be:

  • Independent of active substance and must not change API
  • Independently working from pH
  • Suitable for production scale (implementation of individual, specialized equipment might be legitimate)
  • For human/oral use (non-toxic or adjustable to be non-toxic)

Possible Approaches

Possible approaches include, but are not limited to:

  • Gel forming molecules
  • Smart polymers
  • Nanoparticles/ Nanotechnology
  • Novel (bio based-) materials
  • Trigger-driven entrapment
  • Pulse-activated scavengers
  • Flocculating (bio) molecules



Solutions do not yet have to be ready for the market or tested in accordance to the pharmaco-logical regulations, and may require further development and lab testing. Grünenthal is willing to perform these test internally or at the Solution Provider’s installations.


Approaches not of interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Packaging devices  for controlled dispense of the dosage forms
  • Adverse compounds e.g. no emetic causing vomiting reflex
  • Substances that are explicitly proven to be toxic


Preferred Collaboration types
Items to be submitted

The Statement of Interest form includes checkboxes and text boxes for a concise description of your technology. Only non-confidential information may be submitted. Supporting information which proves the performance of the technology is much appreciated and will improve the proper judgement of your proposal.


Please follow this link to fill out the Statement of Interest form.


Don't hesitate to contact Tom Vranken ( if you are interested in submitting a Statement of Interest, but still have some additional questions prior filling in the survey.


For assistance with registering on NineSights or submitting your Statement of Interest, please contact the Solution Provider Help Desk


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