Targeted Intracellular Therapeutics
An early stage therapeutic drug company, NanoVector Inc. is commercializing a patent pending nanoparticle drug delivery system developed at North Carolina State University (NCSU).
The NanoVector nanoparticle is a plant virus. Central to our technology, this virus, which has evolved over millions of years, has several inherent characteristics essential for a successful nanoparticle delivery system and superior to any designed and engineered by humans. The most important property of the virus is its built-in sensor-actuator system. When the therapeutic agent carrying virus enters a cell, it senses a change in chemical environment and automatically unloads its cargo. Therefore the highly toxic therapeutic agent is released only in a cell, never in the blood stream as with manmade particles that depend upon capsule degradation or require an external trigger to open the particles for the release of their content. The benefit derived from this feature of the NanoVector nanoparticle is the minimization of the horrendous side effects associated with free anti-cancer drugs in the blood stream.
A second feature of the plant virus is that its automatic release of cargo is delayed once the virus enters a cell. This allows time for NanoVector’s patented two stage targeting. After the nanoparticle attaches to over expressed receptors on the cancer cell surface, it first enters the cytoplasm via a process called endocytosis. Then nuclear importins molecules attached to the nanoparticle guide it into the cell nucleus where it unloads its therapeutic agent, thereby maximizing its efficacy and evading the cancer cell defenses. This eliminates multi-drug resistance that occurs with current drug therapies. Nuclear targeting also results in a 30 fold reduction in the amount of cytotoxic drug required to kill a cancer cell and enables the killing of elusive cancer stem cells which are considered by some to be responsible for new tumor development.
Robustly protecting its cargo in very harsh environments is another property of the NanoVector plant virus nanoparticle. Additionally, it is small enough to enter a cell and its nucleus while supporting hundreds of targeting compounds on its surface, thereby increasing cell targeting specificity and avidity. Unlike other viruses, the NanoVector plant virus is non-toxic to humans and, without specific cancer cell targeting, will not accumulate in any body organs or otherwise healthy tissue. This makes it the perfect vehicle for targeted intracellular therapeutics.