The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: December 11, 2007
Carigent Therapeutics Completes Series A Financing
(Nanowerk News) Carigent Therapeutics, Inc., announced today that the company has secured $2 million in its first round of private equity financing. Carigent is advancing a new drug delivery technology that aims to improve drug efficacy and safety by engineering nanoparticles that optimize delivery and controlled release of therapeutic and diagnostic agents into diseased tissues and cells. The financing was provided by Saint Simeon Marketing and Investments Lda. Carigent will apply the proceeds to further develop its nanotechnology platform, improve laboratory production capabilities and core expertise to support partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and advance its lead therapeutic product candidates toward clinical studies.
Carigent’s products and services are based on novel nanotechnology developed at Yale University.
The core technology enables exceptionally high-density anchoring, or “tethering,” of biological targeting agents to the surface of biodegradable nanoparticles that encapsulate drugs or diagnostic agents. This unique capability enables Carigent to design and engineer customized nanoscale carriers that are exceptionally versatile. On one hand, the platform allows for delivery and controlled release of therapeutic and diagnostic agents targeted directly to the site of pathology in specific tissues or cells, thus increasing delivered agent concentrations while minimizing systemic circulation of the drug and associated side effects.
On the other hand, the technology has the capability to render the particles “stealthy” and increase the bioavailability and functional half-lives of therapeutics with formulation problems. An example of how the technology might work: Carigent nanoparticles engineered to deliver an anticancer therapeutic enter the disease environment, dispatch an increased dose of the encapsulated drug in a controlled fashion to the site of the tumor or within individual cancer cells, and the carrier degrades over time. The method thus leaves healthy tissues unharmed and minimizes systemic side effects.
Carigent’s multifunctional engineered nanoparticles incorporate FDA-approved PLGA, a polymeric material that has been used successfully in humans for decades. PLGA is the standard substrate used for controlled drug delivery formulations due to its biodegradable and biocompatible nature, as well as its ability to release encapsulated agents in a controlled fashion.
Carigent’s platform supports encapsulation of virtually any drug or molecule inside the nanoparticle, in addition to attachment of a broad array of ligand molecules to the surface at previously unattainable and unprecedented densities. These surface modifications enable disease-specific homing for delivery of both therapeutics as well as noninvasive contrast-imaging diagnostics. The technology also supports combined targeting agents—for example, a diagnostic imaging agent linked with a drug—in a single delivery vehicle.
“Controlled delivery of drugs using biodegradable nanoparticles provides a more efficient and less risky solution to many of the challenges of systemic drug delivery, including administration of larger-than-necessary doses, dose-limiting toxicity, and poor specificity that can lead to harmful effects on healthy tissues,” said Seth Feuerstein, MD, JD, President and a co-founder of Carigent. “With this technology, Carigent is able to deliver on four key promises of improved drug delivery—the ability to control drug release, to target binding agents to a specific physiological site, to combine multiple payloads within the carrier, and to engineer delivery enhancements for existing drugs on the market or for drugs that have failed due to formulation or toxicity issues.”
The Carigent technology is exclusively licensed through Yale University and is based on discoveries by Carigent scientific co-founders W. Mark Saltzman, PhD., chairman of Yale University Department of Biomedical Engineering; Tarek Fahmy, PhD, assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Yale; and Peter Fong, PhD, Carigent’s Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer. About Carigent Carigent Therapeutics, Inc. is a biotechnology company developing and commercializing safer and more effective therapeutic and diagnostic products based on the company’s platform technology: Nanoparticles that enable delivery and controlled release of therapeutic and diagnostic agents into specific locations within tissues and cells.
The company’s products and services are based on novel nanotechnology developed at Yale University that provides the unique capability of tethering biological targeting agents at unprecedented densities to the surface of biodegradable polymer nanoparticles, resulting in drugs that bind to their targets more effectively, are delivered at a higher concentration to the desired location, and/or remain in the bloodstream longer than other nanotechnology-based drugs.
The Carigent technology is broadly applicable across a wide variety of disease states and supports multiple types of targeting strategies and carrier designs for existing drugs as well as new drugs in development. Carigent’s initial product development programs are focused on cancer therapeutics. In parallel, Carigent provides access to its nanoparticle drug delivery technology through collaborations and partnerships with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and diagnostics companies. Carigent was established in 2007 and is based in New Haven, Connecticut.