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The Atrigel® drug delivery system consists of biodegradable polymers dissolved in biocompatible carriers. Pharmaceuticals may be blended into this liquid delivery system at the time of manufacturing or, depending upon the product, may be added later by the physician at the time of use.

When the liquid product is injected into the subcutaneous space through a small gauge needle or placed into accessible tissue sites through a cannula, water in the tissue fluids causes the polymer to precipitate and trap the drug in a solid implant. The drug encapsulated within the implant is then released in a controlled manner as the polymer matrix biodegrades with time.

Depending upon the patient's medical needs, the Atrigel system can deliver small molecules,peptides, or proteins over a period ranging from days to months.

The Atrigel system may provide benefits over traditional methods of drug administration such as tablets or capsules, injections and continuous infusion as a result of the following properties:
  • Compatibility with a broad range of pharmaceutical compounds, including water soluble and insoluble compounds and high and low molecular weight compounds, including peptides and proteins.
  • Direct delivery to a target area, thus potentially achieving higher drug concentrations at the desired site of action to minimize systemic side effects.
  • Sustained drug release over a targeted time period so as to reduce the frequency of drug administration.
  • Biodegradable and does not require removal when the drug is depleted.
  • Can be injected by means of standard needles and syringes.
  • All current components of the Atrigel system are biocompatible and have independently established safety and toxicity profiles.

Atrigel is currently used for the delivery of Eligard®, a treatment for prostate cancer. At present, Eligard is approved for one-, three-, four- and six-month time-release formulations.

NOTE: On October 1, 2009, QLT Inc. announced that it completed the sale of all of the shares of its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, QLT USA, Inc. to TOLMAR Holding, Inc. QLT USA’s principal operating asset was the Eligard line of products for the treatment of prostate cancer.

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