Drugs embedded in special polymers can more effectively shrink tumors.
By Emily Singer
Why: Targeting cancer drugs narrowly to tumor cells will improve efficacy and reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Key innovation: Its delivery system uses engineered nanoparticles to deliver drugs to specific cells.
Bind has developed nanoparticles that deliver cancer drugs more precisely to malignant cells and help the drugs circulate longer in the body. Biodegradable polymers surrounding the drug allow it to diffuse slowly into the bloodstream, while a coating of polyethylene glycol—a molecule with waterlike properties—helps the particle evade detection by the immune system. A sprinkling of ligands designed to bind to the target cells make sure the particle’s payload reaches its destination.
The technology could theoretically be applied to any existing drugs or experimental compounds that would benefit from longer circulation times or better targeting. It might also revive experimental drugs that have been shelved because of problematic side effects; the improved delivery system could make them effective at lower doses.
Bind plans to develop its own therapeutics and to partner with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to develop their molecules for drug approval. Earlier this year, the startup began clinical trials of its first product, a nanoparticle that delivers the chemotherapy medication docetaxel, which is currently indicated for the treatment of breast, prostate, and lung cancers. In animal models, the nanoparticles delivered 20 times more of the medication to the tumor than the traditional method of delivery, making the drug both more effective and more tolerable.
Challenges and Next Steps:
In addition to cancer drugs, Bind is developing targeted delivery versions of drugs for cardiovascular disease and inflammatory diseases, as well as a platform for delivering RNA-based products.