Nanotechnology, which is the manipulation of molecules at the atomic scale, has been applied by companies in the medical field, with applications abound – in drug discovery, tissue engineering, imaging and diagnostics. A fast growing field, the earliest developments in nanomedicine occurred at the turn of the century, although studies of nanoparticles such as colloidal gold began in the 1890s and early 1900s.
The first drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the US, Doxil, is a PEGylated nano-liposome based drug that has been approved to treat AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and other solid cancers. tumor. It drives technology with the discovery of drugs such as Abraxane and Myocet, and the recently approved Hensify, a radiotherapy-activated drug Nanobiotix, for the treatment of cancer.
As techniques and tools advance to take advantage of nanotechnology in the health sector, here are six nanotechnology companies that are expanding their scope in the medical field that you need to know about.
ARIZ Precision Medicine
Today, as the field of precision medicine is evolving, ARIZ Precision Medicine, a biotechnology company based in California in the US, aims to incorporate nanotechnology for targeted delivery of cancer drugs.
The company’s product consists of nanoparticles, which are customized based on the type of cancer they attack, and have small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that kill cancer-inducing proteins without harming surrounding healthy cells, cancer cell-targeting peptides, as well as chemotherapy drugs – packaged in nanoparticles . The nanoparticles are PEGylated, a process whereby a polyethylene glycol (PEG) polymer is added to protect the drug.
The company has eight indications in its pipeline, which target the PRDM class of proteins responsible for enabling cancer cell proliferation.
Since its founding in 2015, the company has raised a total of $2.7 million over three financing rounds. The most recent funding round taking place in 2022 was led by California-based venture capital firm Moneta Ventures.
While skin conditions are often treated with topical medications, they don’t always work well because the skin is such a strong barrier. UK-based Blueberry Therapeutics aims to tackle this problem through the formulation of the drug BB2603 for the treatment of fungal nail infections.
Therapy uses polymers that form complexes with drugs, complexing into nanoparticles. These nanoparticles enhance drug solubility and retention and as a result, can be administered in lower doses when compared to the drug itself.
With five drugs in its pipeline, biotech drug delivery candidate BB2603 is currently in a phase 2 trial for distal subungual onychomycosis (DSO) – fungal infection of the nails – toenails. The nanotechnology company has successfully completed a comparative efficacy study of BB2603 hand pump dermal spray, Lamisil spray – a spray commonly used for the treatment of athlete’s foot – and BB2603 vehicle hand pump spray, in participants with onychomycosis and associated tinea pedis (foot disease), where BB2603 showed activity. anti-dermatophyte, meaning it can reduce fungal infections.
Founded in 2011, Blueberry Therapeutics has received £17.4 million in funding over six rounds. The most recent round is taking place in 2021, and the latest investors are NPIF Maven Equity Finance in the UK and Medical Incubator Japan.
Some of the most common approaches to cancer treatment include chemotherapy and immunotherapy but direct administration of these drugs often results in inadequate pharmacokinetics, susceptibility to biodegradation, impaired targeting, and strong side effects. To address drug delivery issues, Cello Therapeutics, a biotechnology site located in San Diego in the US, has developed biomimetic cell membrane-coated nanoparticles.
Using human cell membranes to coat nanoparticles, the company’s drug delivery platform has 11 products in its development pipeline. One of the most advanced in her program is platelet-derived membrane-coated nanoparticles in the delivery of immunotherapeutic agents for the treatment of multiple cancers, which is currently in the preclinical stage. It was found that the outer membrane enhances interaction with the tumor microenvironment, and delivery by nanoparticles is able to induce tumor regression in a colorectal tumor model as well as delay tumor growth in a breast cancer model, indicating a superior antitumor immune effect. Cello Therapeutics looks forward to filing Investigational New Drug (IND) applications with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for all of its line’s products upon completion of preclinical studies.
Founded in 2016, the nanotechnology company has raised a total of $8.7 million in two investment rounds, after the last round was held in 2022.
Located in London in the UK, FabricNano was founded in 2018 to offer a sustainable way to manufacture biochemicals. The company’s Immobilization Engineering Technology is a cell-free vehicle for biomanufacturing products.
Emerging as an alternative to cell-based fermentation, Immobilization Engineering is supported by enzymes. The technology assists the production of biosynthetic products through enzyme engineering methods and downstream processing for large-scale commercialization of products. With the aim of reducing biomanufacturing costs as well as speeding up production, the company’s DNA-based flow reactors produce biochemicals using engineered enzymes that bind to DNA.
Last month, the nanotechnology company announced it had entered into a partnership with Japanese investment group Sumitomo to increase the commercialization of its enzyme synthesis product FabricNano. Biotech has previously collaborated with BRH Future, which is focused on immobilizing enzymes onto DNA fabric scaffolds and also with European venture capital firm Atomico for accelerated development of the FabricFlow reactor technology.
The company has raised $15.5 million in funding over three rounds, having raised $12.5 million in its most recent series A investment round, with its most active investors being London-based venture capitalists Backed VC and Hoxton Ventures, and angel investor Serge Chiaramonte.
Headquartered in the capital city of Helsinki, Finland, Nanoform’s Controlled Expansion of Supercritical Solutions (CESS) technology creates active pharmaceutical ingredient nanoparticles (APIs) to address drug delivery challenges.
CESS technology works by controlling the solubility of API in supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO₂). Supercritical carbon dioxide, the liquid state of carbon dioxide held at or above its critical temperature and pressure, is obtained from pharmaceutical-grade carbon dioxide recycled from local industrial by-products. This allows crystallization over a wide range of temperatures. The benefit of using scCO₂ in this process is that the result is free of hazardous waste products and carbon based organic solvents – which may be carcinogenic and harmful. By applying CESS technology, the company is able to develop nanoparticle-based formulations that have the potential to be administered in low doses.
In the field of start-up biology, nanotechnology companies are also aiming to deliver nanoparticle-based products via the parenteral route of administration which includes intranasal sprays, pulmonary and subcutaneous injections because a higher payload of nanoform active ingredients can be provided for better delivery. Biotech’s proprietary technology uses a nebulizer through which an API containing the feed solution is pumped, which is then converted into a carrier gas. The mist is then dried in the chamber, after which the particles are ionized, becoming charged particles, which are then collected by electrostatic precipitation. This technique has been adopted to prepare the nanoform of rituximab, a monoclonal antibody, for amplified delivery of the cancer drug rituximab.
Founded in 2015, Nanoform has raised €42 million ($45.06 million) in funding over three rounds, with the most recent round being a post-IPO equity round, taking place in 2022.
Specializing in drug delivery, American biotech Zylo Therapeutics has created Z-pods, which are amorphous silica particles that have been engineered to encapsulate compounds, and can be adapted to increase bioavailability. Enterprise scalable universal delivery platforms can be leveraged target the pilosebaceous unit.
Z-pods also use nitric oxide, which has been successful in assisting the treatment of erectile dysfunction, wound healing, infections, burns, and onychomycosis, proven in non-clinical trials. For its Z-pod, the nanotechnology company has been awarded more than $3 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and the South Carolina Research Authority, among other organizations.
Founded in 2017, Zylo Therapeutics has raised $13.2 million in funding over seven rounds, with the most recent being a Series B round in 2022, where the most recent investors are seed capital firm New York Angels and angel investor James Cordes.