Biotech and nanoparticles for metastatic cancer

M.Cano, A. Villaverde, E. Vasquez, R. Mangues

Nanoligent is a Spanish company, resulting from a university spin-off whose mission is to improve the life of patients by designing new medicines that selectively target the cells affected by disease. With this approach Nanoligent developed treatments that are more effective and have fewer adverse effects than classical drugs. Nanoligent designs its new drugs using state-of-the-art protein engineering and nanobiotechnology. The first project realized is a new anti-metastatic drug: since cancer is the second cause of death worldwide, there is an urgent need for more effective and personalized treatments of tumors. Metastasis development is the main cause of patient death in most tumor types, but the control of metastasis in cancer is still an unmet medical need. The current surgery-based approach and conventional chemotherapy can be enhanced using new technologies. Nanoligent first project is a self-assembling protein nanoparticle that selectively kills metastatic cells. This nanoconjugate targets CXCR4 receptors which are over-expressed in metastatic cells of many types of cáncer. Preclinical results look very promising: in vivo results show that Nanoligent drug-loaded nanoconjugate accumulates in primary tumor and metastatic foci with negligible presence in liver, kidney, brain or other organs. The result is a significant decrease of the number of metastatic foci and very low toxicity on normal cells. Nanoligent is currently completing preclinical development in order to obtain approval for first-in-human trial.