Later this month at the BIO International Convention, BIO will be partnering with the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to host the first-ever BIO Innovation Zone. The Zone will feature Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) funded early-stage biotech companies.
The SBIR/STTR program provides U.S. federal funding to small businesses engaged in research with the potential for commercialization. Companies are rigorously vetted through the NIH and NSF SBIR review process prior to receiving the funding. The majority of participating companies in the Innovation Zone have received SBIR Phase II grants, which provide up to $1 million dollars in funding to engage in R&D that has the potential for commercialization.
Over the new few weeks, we will feature snapshots of a few of the companies who will participate in the Zone. Today we interviewed Manijeh Goldberg, the founder of Cambridge, MA-based Privo Technologies, a small business supported by NSF’s SBIR program.
What is your company’s lead product or technology?
Privo Technologies focuses on discovering and developing novel ways to deliver chemotherapeutics and other agents locally and topically. The company has developed a thin wafer and nanoparticles, which together provide a novel platform for drug delivery. The nanoparticles permeate the tissue and deliver their payload directly to targeted tumor cells. Privo has chosen as its initial product a solution for oral cancer, a much underserved and growing disease in the U.S. and worldwide.
How does your company go about differentiating itself from the competition?
Elimination of toxic side effects of intravenous chemotherapeutics has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of oral cancers and several other mucosa based cancers. Privo’s technology offers a unique combination of treatment features for oral cancer, targeting the tumor with high dose of chemotherapy with significantly reduced toxicity, in a patient friendly manner. This topical treatment is a simple and elegant solution for several other cancers, such colorectal and anal cancer as well as for pre-cancerous dysplasia. Currently there is no treatment alternative that can compete with these advantages for oral cancer.
There are many cancer product development efforts underway in recent years, but they are mostly intended for systemic circulation by injection. Privo’s local delivery of chemo-loaded nano-particles is unique in that it can deliver a much higher dose of chemotherapy drug directly to the tumor without the concern over the dose limiting side effects.
Tell us something about your company that future investors should know.
Privo has made great strides in its development work to this point and is dedicated to proving the applicability of its technology to the treatment of oral cancer. Privo has had very encouraging results in its small animal studies and in scaling up its nanoparticle formulation from milliliters to several liters in each batch. This technology has been developed at MIT’s Langer Lab. The company is now working on its IND enabling studies to prepare for Phase I clinical trials.