Starpharma and Monash Uni get A$420,000 grant for new nanotech drug delivery method

Starpharma and Monash Uni get A$420,000 grant for new nanotech drug delivery method
Dendrimer nanotechnology specialist Starpharma Holdings Ltd (ASX:SPL, OTC:SPHRY) has been awarded a  A$420,000 Australian Research Council (ARC) funding grant, alongside the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS), to advance a new drug delivery method which may benefit thousands of patients with particular types of cancer, HIV and lymphatic conditions.

According to the lead researcher at MIPS, Professor Chris Porter, the technology has particular implications for the treatment of diseases which are spread via the lymphatics and lymph nodes. The delivery method is based on dendrimer technology. Dendrimers are precisely defined bio-friendly molecules which are 3-10 nanometres in diameter.

Australia's Innovation Minister Kim Carr awarded Starpharma and MIPS A$420,000 as part of the ARC's Linkage Projects scheme. The scheme is designed to encourage Australian institutions to undertake innovative and cutting-edge research projects in collaboration with industry and other partners.

According to Starpharma, Dendrimers have a surface with has many different sites on which drugs and other functional groups may be attached, allowing the optimisation of how the drug interacts with the body. "Our work so far suggests that careful design of the size and surface characteristics of certain dendrimers provides an opportunity to boost delivery to the lymphatic system, signalling the potential to significantly improve patient treatment," Professor Porter added. 

"This Linkage grant provides an excellent opportunity to explore these issues in detail and to advance the development of targeted therapeutics."

"This funding will assist in advancing our collaboration with researchers from Monash University over the next three years, to further understand the full potential of Starpharma's proprietary dendrimers in improving drug delivery", Starpharma chief executive Dr Jackie Fairley commented. "This research has the potential to significantly improve the treatment of diseases, including metastatic cancer, lymphoma, HIV and metastitial tuberculosis."

Starpharma highlighted that with the ability to target therapeutics in this way, there is the potential to enhance efficacy and reduce side effects and toxicity of treatments. Furthermore, the approach also prolongs the lifetime of the drug, by slowing the process of drug breakdown, which maximises the opportunities for the drug to reach the relevant sites in the body before being cleared by the body's natural mechanisms.