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Smaller is better: Bentley Pharmaceuticals, UNH team up on Nanocaplets
June 2005
by Jeffrey Bouley  | 
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EXETER, N.H. The results of a four-year sponsored research program with the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Nanostructured Polymers Research Center came to fruition in early May when Bentley Pharmaceuticals announced its new Nanocaplet technology.
 
"This technology is really just a hollow sphere that is both very small and self-forming, so that anything that is in an aqueous solution can go inside," says Robert Gyurik, Bentley's vice president of pharmaceutical development. "The limitations in terms of what drugs can go into the Nanocaplet are not determined by what specifically is in the solution, because the Nanocaplet will form around the aqueous part of the milieu."
 
About the only drugs ruled out for potential delivery by Nanocaplets are those with particles bigger than the Nanocaplet itself. A Nanocaplet spheroid has a typical diameter of 100 nanometers, which is approximately 1/600th of the diameter of a human hair.
 
The product will provide a significant advancement in drug delivery technology for many applications, Gyurik says, but he sees particular value in the use of Nanocaplets to orally deliver medications that are currently only injectible, such as interferon and insulin.
 
"There are also many promising peptides out there," adds James Murphy, Bentley's president and chief executive officer. "We know that they have activity, but the problem is often, 'how do you deliver them?' Also, growth hormone is one of the most promising agents in terms of the field of anti-aging medicine, and a means whereby growth hormone could be administered orally would be a huge advantage in research and clinical use."
 
Murphy says that his company chose UNH because the university has a strong drive to take academic work into commercial viability.
 
"From the inception of the Nanocaplet, a fundamental concern was taking it out of an ivory tower existence immediately and putting it into the real world," he explains.
 
Research on other "nanoparticle delivery systems" has been published, but Dr. Jerome Claverie, research associate professor in materials science at UNH and the principal investigator and co-inventor of the technology, explains there are differences between the Nanocaplet and similar predecessors.
 
One difference is that the vesicles are hollow, with controllable sizes in the nanoscale range, even below 100 nanometers. In addition, Claverie says, the building blocks are comprised of biodegradable segments; the payloads are protected and do not measurably leak out, as is the case with liposomes; and the technology isn't drug-sensitive, so potentially a vast range of macromolecules, including oligonucleotides and proteins, could be delivered.
 
Code: E060519

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