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By Biocat

Grupo Ferrer and Nanotargeting, a biotech-based start-up born out of the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN), will develop a cancer treatment using gold nanoparticles functionalized with Cisplatin (AuNP-Cisplatin).

AuNP-Cisplatin, thanks to its pharmacological and kinetic properties, reduces nephrotoxicity and other adverse effects of Cisplatin, while maintaining or even improving its anti-tumor activity. AuNP-Cisplatin was discovered as a result of research carried out by Dr. Víctor Puntes, ICREA research professor and head of the ICN Inorganic Nanoparticles Group, in collaboration with Dr. Fernando Domínguez of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Dr. Francisco Romero of the University of Valencia, and Dr. Óscar Gallego of Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau in Barcelona.

“When Cisplatin is administered (alone), part of it goes on to cause major kidney problems and other toxic effects, and it irreversibly binds to the protein albumin, which transports it to the tumor but renders it inactive; therefore, it loses its therapeutic effect. In contrast, gold nanoparticles carry Cisplatin to the tumor in its passive form, and also prevent their passage through the kidney, thereby preventing nephrotoxicity,” explains Víctor Puntes.

This research by professor Puntes and his collaborators has led to a patent application, the rights to which have been acquired by Nanotargeting.

Dr. Jordi Pascual, director of the ICN, explained that this project is supported by three main pillars to successfully achieve the objectives: “the participation of renowned research groups; capital and management from business, and the collaboration of a powerful pharmaceutical group.”

According to Ferrer, this agreement will help strengthen their presence in the field of advanced therapies.

Nanonica Europe, the Swiss investor

Nanonica is a Swiss investment society specializing in the development of biomedical applications for nanotechnology. To invest in Spain, the firm has associated with family offices and private investors from Switzerland and Italy and has created the company Nanonica Europe, based in Barcelona. Nanotargeting is their first project, to which they expect to contribute some €450,000 euros in the first stage.

Nanotargeting is one of the 67 companies and organizations that will travel with the Catalan delegation coordinated by Biocat to the top biotech convention in the world, BIO Boston 2012, from 18 to 21 June.

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