Carigent Technologies is developing a delivery platform that allows high-density application of molecules to the surface of biodegradable, polymeric particles as well as high loading of RNAi material into FDA-approved polymers. The company’s technology, based on exclusive licenses from Yale and Cornell Universities, combines well-characterized, safe materials with a method of adhering ligands to particle surfaces at high density, thereb, allowing delivery of multiple therapeutic modalities.
“While our polymers have been used in humans for decades, people thought you couldn’t load them with potential drugs such as oligonucleotides because of charge incompatibilities and other factors,” Seth Feuerstein, M.D., J.D., president, noted. “It turns out you can; we achieve high loading and targeted delivery due to our symbiotic technologies.”
Carigent’s PLGA-based particles for drug loading and delivery range in size from tens of nanometers to hundreds of microns. Dr. Feuerstein said the company’s platform allows sustained release of therapeutic agents, tethering of surface ligands, targeting of therapy to a particular physiological site, and the ability to combine multiple agents into one vehicle made primarily from FDA-approved materials.
Using its proprietary process, Carigent can encapsulate the therapeutic of interest within the polymer matrix, while attaching choice ligands to the surface using amphiphilic functional groups at high densities, according to Dr. Feuerstein. The delivery vehicles are capable of targeted delivery, internalization by cells and tissues, and sustained release of the encapsulated therapeutic over a period of days to months.
This combination of differentiating characteristics, he said, allows delivery of multiple therapeutic modalities such as RNAi, peptides, small molecules, and therapeutic vaccines as well as flexibility in targeting the drug delivery system for a variety of disease states and delivery routes and enhanced in vivo circulation times.
Dr. Feuerstein, in referring specifically to the significant challenge of siRNA therapeutics delivery, said lead delivery programs have, for the most part, revolved around lipid-derived and/or cationic delivery systems. “Carigent has designed its RNAi delivery systems for both direct delivery (injection into organs and topical applications) and IV delivery. Our system can protect the RNAi until it gets where it needs to go, and we also can design our particles for sustained RNAi release. This can’t be done with lipids.” Dr. Feuerstein believes that multiple delivery vehicles will be required for various oligos and their specific applications. “We can’t solve every delivery problem with our technology, but we can deliver a lot of oligos to a lot of relevant targets.”