Central Nervous System Drug Delivery


To conduct clinical testing of a novel device that can deliver drugs directly to the central nervous system

Anticipated Impact: 

Effective treatment of pain or other neurological conditions while avoiding accidental overdoses and side effects


Drugs targeting the central nervous system (CNS) currently must be delivered either systemically (orally or intravenously) or by direct injection into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). However, systemic exposure to drugs can cause serious side effects or toxicities, and CSF injection is risky, painful, and expensive. The University of Washington and Seattle-based commercial partner Impel NeuroPharma have developed a novel device for targeted drug delivery to the CNS through an intranasal route. Results of initial testing in animal models are promising. The goal of this grant is to demonstrate in human clinical studies that the device can preferentially deliver a pain medication to the CNS. The research team will compare CNS actions and blood levels of drug delivered via the device with those of systemically delivered drug. Impel NeuroPharma is pursuing partners and funding for commercialization of the device.

Collaborating organizations:  Impel NeuroPharma, VA Puget Sound Health Care System

Central Nervous System Drug Delivery

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Gregory Terman
Grantee Organization:
University of Washington
Grant Title:
Olfactory Delivery of Centrally-Acting Analgesics
Grant Cohort and Year:
2010 Second Round Commercialization (04)
Grant Period:
01/01/2012 - 12/31/2014 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Our studies were targeted at comparing onset time and effects of the opiate hydromorphone when given by Precision Olfactory Delivery (POD) and intravenous (IV) routes of delivery. We found that the effects were surprisingly similar with regard to onset time, analgesic and respiratory depressive effects and yet the POD hydromorphone yielded a delayed and smaller blood concentration of hydromorphone. This result supports the concept of "direct-to-brain" effects of the POD device and has led both my lab and Impel Neuropharma to continue our studies using this device to administer other, more clinically necessary, centrally acting drugs with normally limited access to the CNS.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Central Nervous System Drug Delivery