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Here's a few drug delivery companies from across the pond, although most of them aren't working on proteins, or at least, not exclusively :

Elan have a bundle of technolgoies, which are well worth investigating. I guess most of the big pharmas have programs, but Elan seem to be cornering the field in some of the up and coming areas.

Skye Pharma (SKP.L) look as though they might turn into one of a handful of multi-platform delivery technology companies - at the moment they do slow-release pills and inhalers

Powderject (PJP.L) and Weston Medical (WMG.L) are both needleless injection companies. PJP needs to reformulate drugs to work with their system and are much further ahead (recently signed a deal with Cambridge Antibody for antibody delivery), but WMG appears to work with a wider range of drugs.

ML Labs (MLB.L), Profile (PTP.L) and Quadrant (QTH.L) are also working on inhalers. Bespak (BPK.L) actually manufactures inhalers and PJP's device. Maelor (MLR.L) have a number of reformulation technologies, the most interestnig one is a non-fatty emulsion version of the anaesthetic propofol, but they also do gel delivery.

A number of other companies here have drug delivery programs as part of their portfolio - examples are the generics companies Galen (GAL.L - a slow-release HRT device), Bioglan (BGP.L) and Goldshield (GSD.L - whole business is 'renovating' old drugs) and the drug developers Scotia (SOH.L - slow-release creams), CeNeS (CEN.L - rectal delivery) and Alizyme (AZM.L - pills that release drugs in the colon). Finally some of the medical device companies are operating in this space too - Biocompatibles (BII.L) are working on a drug-releasing version of their stents, and Veos (VEO.L) are working on vaginal drug delivery.

Personally I think it's almost impossible for there to be gorillas in the biotech field, there are always alternative ways of doing things which are sufficiently different as to escape patents, but biologically similar enough to work. There are just a handful of key technolgies, most of which are off patent or close to it (the PCR patents are an example), which can be applied to a wide variety of biological systems. Conversely, proteins vary so much that what works for one protein may not work for another, whether in production or delivery. The lead times from patent to product also hinders the development of gorillas. Geron might be a gorilla in stem cells, DeCode in linking disease to genes.

But it's still fun to look for gorillas ;-)

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