N4 Pharma develops spiky-surfaced silica nanoparticle delivery system

By Vassia Barba

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Meletios Verras)
(Image: Getty/Meletios Verras)

Related tags delivery Nanoparticles Nanoparticle preclinical development

N4 Pharma creates DNA and RNA transfection technology using silica nanoparticles with an irregular surface, which traps and protects nucleic acid during its journey to cells.

Nuvec, the company’s silica particles technology, which is currently in preclinical development stage, could potentially be used for the delivery of messenger RNA (mRNA) and plasmid DNA (pDNA) contained in biologic products, such as cancer treatments and vaccines.

The Nuvec nanoparticles differ from conventional silica particles due to their irregular, spiky surface structure that traps and protects nucleic acid as it travels to the cells and subsequently releases the mRNA or pDNA inside the cell to activate the immune system.

The benefits of the nucleic acid delivery technology include a ‘favorable’, predominant response of Th1 cells, which is necessary to fight intracellular parasites, such as viruses or to efficiently kill cancer cells.

Additionally, according to the company, Nuvec is a natural adjuvant and therefore attracts large numbers of antigen-presenting cells leading to a strong activation of T-cells, as well as increasing the level of immune response against target cancer cells.

During the latest research studies, Nuvec system was found to be well-tolerated and “capable of working ​in vivo when using multiple injections at specific doses [...] with no major toxicology findings,” ​the company stated.

N4 Pharma is currently looking to optimize the delivery process, aiming to increase the consistency of the in vivo​ performance and move from ‘exploratory collaborations’ to ‘full licensing discussions’.

Nigel Theobald, the company’s CEO, explained that even better results in in vivo​ consistency may occur once the dispersion is improved, and this is where the company is planning to focus.

“We will be in a much stronger position to advance licencing discussions once this work has been successfully concluded,”​ Theobald added.

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