Emergent Technologies and Caisson Biotech are teaming up in an effort to improve drug safety and efficacy using the latter firm’s HEPtune™ drug delivery platform. With clinical support from Texas’ Seton Healthcare Family and T.J. Milling’s research group at the Austin-based firm Hospital Physicians in Clinical Research, the companies intend to select a final drug candidate, design studies for the enhanced drug, and eventually take it through preclinical, Phase I, and Phase II trials.

Caisson’s HEPtune platform conjugates naturally occurring heparosan to pharmaceuticals to enhance their therapeutic properties by increasing product half-life, reducing immunogenicity and increasing stability, the firms said. They add that HEPtune could improve patient experience, as it is intended to be a safer alternative to polyethylene glycol, a polymer-based drug delivery system associated with toxicity, among other unwanted effects.

Under the terms of the agreement, Caisson will provide technology access and IP rights, procure and develop the therapeutic drug, and provide technical support throughout the collaboration. Emergent said that planning for this partnership was a year in the making, after Caisson signed a development and licensing deal worth up to $100 million with Novo Nordisk.

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