International collaboration to develop ultrasound-activated drug-delivery nanoparticles

10 February 2009

Nanobiotix, an emerging nanomedicine company has announced that it will collaborate with the SonoDrugs project consortium to develop new nanoparticulate drug carriers that can be activated for localized drug release using focused ultrasound.

The SonoDrugs project consortium includes 15 industry partners, university medical centres, and academic institutions from throughout the EU and has a budget of 15.9 million. The four-year project aims to maximize the therapeutic efficiency and minimize the side effects of drug treatments for cardiovascular disease and cancer, the first and second-leading causes of death in the European Union (EU).

The SonoDrugs collaboration aims to develop new materials and drug nanocarrier systems for improved localized drug delivery that can be activated by ultrasound waves. MRI and ultrasound will be used to visualize and guide the drug-delivery process and also to provide immediate feedback on the success of the procedure, enabling adjustment and fine-tuning of the therapeutic intervention.

This novel approach to localized drug delivery requires close collaboration of material science, clinical imaging and pharmaceutical technology, which is expected to lead to new scientific capabilities, medical products and therapy solutions for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

“This collaboration focuses on developing drug delivery nanocarriers to enable novel, localized therapeutics for both cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Local drug delivery is expected to be triggered noninvasively using focused ultrasound under MRI guidance, which is intended to be more patient-friendly, since side effects caused by conventional systemic dosage can, theoretically, be reduced,”  said Dr
Laurent Lévy, CEO of Nanobiotix and Co-President of the French Technology Platform on Nanotechnology (FTPN).

“We intend that the side effects of chemotherapeutic drugs and those for cardiovascular disease will be diminished, since targeted delivery will significantly alter biodistribution and also will lower the amount of drugs that are needed for treatment.

“By improving such techniques with triggered release from nanocarriers under image control by MRI and ultrasound, SonoDrugs is expected to set the stage for more reliable diagnosis and therapy. We expect to have our first nanocarriers developed within nine months, and we further expect to have developed our first drug-loaded nanocarriers within 15 months.

“For Nanobiotix, collaboration with SonoDrugs valorizes the Company’s know-how in MRI contrast agents and activated therapies as well as nanoparticle design and manufacturing. Furthermore, the number of applications and associated markets for Nanobiotix products will be increased by this collaboration. We are extremely pleased to be a part of this groundbreaking effort to enhance treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease.”

“The development of new materials and methodologies for image-guided drug delivery will require the combined strengths of multiple disciplines,” said Dr Simone Vulto, senior scientist at Philips Research and co-ordinator of the SonoDrugs project. “In the SonoDrugs project we are confident that we have brought together the necessary expertise to make a real contribution to improving the treatment of two of the world’s killer diseases.”

The 15 collaborators of the SonoDrugs consortium include: Nanobiotix; Philips Research Europe (Eindhoven); Philips Research Hamburg (Germany); Erasmus University Medical Center (the Netherlands); Lipoid AG (Switzerland); Univ. of Münster (Germany); Univ. of Cyprus; Ghent Univ. (Belgium); Univ. of Helsinki (Finland); Univ. of London; Technical Univ. of Eindhoven (the Netherlands); Univ. Tours-INSERM (France); Univ. Victor Segalen Bordeaux (France); Philips Medical Systems MR (Finland); and, Univ. of Udine (Italy).

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