In the last article, “Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon from a Molecular Landscape-Part I, Introduction,” I briefly introduced the new and exciting field of “Nanomedicine” and reviewed the current funding support and areas of research and development. In this installment, I will first focus on representative companies and organizations and their researchers, and then close with a review of key interesting patents in this field.

Nanomedicine Companies

The state of Connecticut has committed significant resources in support of new innovation in bioscience and nanomedicine. Through Connecticut Innovations (“CI”), the state’s quasi-government investment fund, the state has two focused support programs: the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund (“CBIF”) and the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund (“RMRF”), to facilitate the transition of bench-top innovation towards commercialization. Through CBIF, for example, the state is committed to investing $200 million over 10 years to support the research and development of local research institutes and entrepreneurs in bioscience. . These state initiatives continue to encourage the growth of nanomedicine companies.

Connecticut has several local companies playing a promising role in nanomedicine. IsoPlexis and New Haven Pharmaceuticals are both Yale spin-off startups. IsoPlexis is focusing on the development of microarray devices and technology for monitoring the immune response at the single cell level. New Haven Pharmaceuticals is developing a 24-hour release aspirin with novel capsules. Last year New Haven Pharmaceuticals received FDA approval for their DURLAZA™ (aspirin) for secondary prevention of stroke and acute cardiac events. Soft Tissue Regeneration, a UCONN spin-off, introduced a bio-resorbable scaffold for the reconstruction of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. Oxford Performance Materials, a pioneer in personalized medicine with approximately a 20-year history, is transferring their 3D printing technology to fabricate patient-specific polymeric implants. Beyond Connecticut, nanomedicine companies provide various products from concept-proofing to commercialization. Table 1 summarizes some of the representative companies in this field in Connecticut and beyond.

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Nanomedicine Research

Connecticut has an outstanding research record in nanomedicine. For example, Yale Biomedical Engineering has three major focus areas: drug delivery, tissue engineering, and imaging. Dr. W. Mark Saltzman was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) for his contribution to developing novel nanomaterials for drug delivery. Dr. Laura Niklason is also a member of NAM, and is well-known for her research in vascular and lung tissue engineering. Dr. Themis Kyriakides, Dr. Tarek Fahmy, and Dr. Anjelica Gonzalez have multiple on-going research projects applying nanotechnology to tissue engineering, drug delivery and biomedical imaging. and developed unique microarray devices for highly multiplex protein measurements in single cells and genomic sequencing. There are also scientists in other departments contributing to nanomedicine, such as Dr. Donald Engelman, Dr. Peter Glazer, and Dr. Erik Shapiro. At the University of Connecticut Health Center (UCHC), Dr. Cato Laurencin has established an Institute for Regenerative Engineering, with Dr. Mei Wei, Dr. Sangamesh Kumbar, Dr. Syam Nukavarapu, and others to apply nanomaterials and nanotechnology to musculoskeletal regeneration and drug delivery. Also at UCONN Dr. Ki Chon is leading the Biomedical Engineering department with newly recruited members, such as Dr. Bin Feng, Dr. Kazunori Hoshino, and others to further strengthen the research of nanomedicine in diagnostics and therapeutics.

Outside of Connecticut, other outstanding researchers lead prominent research projects in different areas related to nanomedicine. Table 2 summarizes some representative key opinion leaders and their contribution in this field.

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Nanomedicine Patents

Active research in nanomedicine has resulted in dynamic patent activity in this field. In diagnostics, microdevices have been developed to address challenges in clinical applications and nanomaterials have been utilized to explore novel biomarkers for disease diagnosis. U.S. Patent 9,188,586 discloses a microfluidics based methodology for high throughput multiplex protein profiling at single cell level. U.S. Patent 9,284,601 discloses microfluidic systems for high-throughput, droplet-based single molecule analyses. U.S. Patents 7,288,405, 8,647,861, and 8,865,464 describe in vitro organ-on-a-chip systems to mimic the physiological environment of human organs, targeting at disease modeling and drug screening. In therapeutics, nanotechnology has been widely used for targeted drug delivery. U.S. Patents 7,030,097, 7,534,448, 8,927,018, 9,248,121, and 9,139,827 described a wide variety of different nanomaterials, i.e., polymeric nanoparticles, metallic nanoparticles, porous materials, etc., for delivery of drugs or biomolecules such as, DNA, or RNA, to specific targets. U.S. Patents 8,252,517 and 8,465,775 described unique microtechnology based methods for making nanoparticles for drug delivery. In regenerative medicine, nanocomposite materials and 3D printed materials are used for selectively engineering tissues and organs.  U.S Patents 8,614,189 and 9,114,009 describe nanomaterials as scaffolds for tissue engineering. US. Patents 9,222,932 and 9,227,339 describe engineered organs made by 3D printing techniques. I will discuss more details and applications in diagnostics, therapeutics and regenerative medicine in following articles. Here, in Table 3 I summarize some of the representative patents mentioned herein.

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Closing

The funding support from both private foundations and federal agencies, and the resulting research activities in nanomedicine indicate that this field is growing on very fertile ground with great prospects to move further into commercialization and clinical applications. The rapid development in nanomedicine will ultimately improve the quality of human life and health care.