Arrowhead Invests In Insert Therapeutics For Nanotech Drug Delivery Systems - News Item

Arrowhead Research Corporation, an emerging company in the field of nanotechnology, announced today that it has agreed to take a majority position in Insert Therapeutics, Inc., a Pasadena-based company focused on designing, developing and commercializing delivery-enhanced therapeutics using its patented class of polymers.

With research being led by Dr. Mark Davis, a professor of chemical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Insert Therapeutics is currently expanding and leveraging its platform technology, Cyclosert, through an internal small-molecule drug development program, a gene-therapy collaboration with San Diego-based Canji, Inc., a subsidiary of Schering-Plough.

The founder of Insert Therapeutics, Dr. Davis is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering and a recipient of numerous awards including the prestigious Alan T. Waterman Award, given by the National Science Foundation annually to only one scientist in the United States across all disciplines.

Dr. Davis was the first engineer to win this award for his work in rationally designed materials. Dr. Davis earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering, holds over 30 patents, has published more than 300 papers and has presented over 450 seminars throughout the world.

Insert has designed a novel class of "intelligent" polymers that incorporate properties for the intracellular, systemic delivery of a broad range of therapeutics. The polymer-therapeutic composites form nanoparticles that have designable size and functions. These "smart" nanoparticles can deliver therapeutics ranging from small molecules to genes and their combinations.  Unlike passive drug carriers, Cyclosert polymers respond to biological mechanisms and micro-environmental conditions enabling the active release of their therapeutic payload into tumour cells or other selected tissues, that can be targeted with the attachment of various cell surface receptor ligands.

Cyclosert's linear cyclodextrin-containing polymers can be designed to be neutral, positively charged or negatively charged. This feature is unique to Cyclosert technology and provides great flexibility for formulation and delivery. Cyclosert has been synthesized at molecular weights high enough to provide for to slowed renal clearance, enhanced circulation time and improved accumulation of active drug at the target tissue.  Using Cyclosert, Insert has significantly improved the solubility, stability, toxicity, efficacy and pharmacokinetic characteristics of anticancer drugs.

Posted 22nd April 2004

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