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Ben-Gurion U. licenses drug delivery platform for central nervous system diseases to NY biotech firm

BEER-SHEVA, ISRAEL, April 10, 2012 BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company for Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), has signed a licensing agreement for its V-Smart drug delivery technology with Lauren Sciences LLC, a privately held biotechnology company in New York.

Lauren Sciences will develop the technology as a platform for treating a variety of diseases that affect the central nervous system (CNS), including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), as well as brain malignancies.

V-Smart technology is based on nanovesicles made of proprietary building blocks that provide high stability, large encapsulation capacity, targeting to specific cells and tissues, a controlled release mechanism, and passage through biological barriers, including the blood brain barrier (BBB). The V-SmartTM technology pinpoints where the drug will be released in the brain, increasing efficacy and reducing adverse effects.

It was developed by BGU researchers Dr. Sarina Grinberg of the Department of Chemistry, Dr. Charles Linder of the Department of Biotechnology and Department of Clinical Biochemistry Prof. Eliahu Heldman, who also serves as Lauren Science's chief scientific officer. Lauren Sciences will continue to conduct development activities at BGU.

"Our pre-clinical studies demonstrate that novel, nano-sized V-Smart vesicles encapsulate small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids, cross the BBB and release their encapsulated contents in the brain," said Prof. Heldman. "Our goal is to target, protect and restore dopaminergic neurons (nerve cells) in the brain that deteriorate during the course of Parkinson's disease. The success of this project should improve Parkinson's patients' lives."

The BBB is permeable for small molecules; however, an active drug delivery transport system is required for other substances. There is currently an unmet need and a great medical challenge for a safe, effective and reliable drug delivery transport system to deliver viable chemotherapeutic agents to the brain of patients with brain cancer or other CNS related clinical states.

The V-Smart platform is protected by several worldwide patents filed by BGN Technologies. Lauren Sciences was recently awarded a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation to develop a V-Smart therapeutic for Parkinson's disease.


Contact: Andrew Lavin
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

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