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August 28th, 2010
Tech startups hope to fight cancer
Lynn Kirkpatrick, CEO and president of Ensysce Biosciences, says her company has developed a way to use nanotubes so they can enter cancer cells and prevent tumors from growing.
• Elevator pitch: Using tiny particles called carbon nanotubes to deliver treatments to individual cancer cells.
• The idea: Drugs delivered through the bloodstream have a hard time entering cells. But nanotubes, which are 1 to 2 nanometers in diameter and can carry large therapy molecules, pass easily out of the bloodstream and directly through cell membranes into cancer cells. Ensysce Biosciences says it has developed a way to attach a cancer therapy, known as short interfering RNA, to nanotubes so they can enter cancer cells and prevent the tumors from growing.
• Users: None. The company plans to start studies required by the FDA during the next six to 12 months so it can then gain approval to start clinical trials.
• The brains: Bob Gower founded the company in 2008 as spinoff of Carbon Nanotechnologies, set up to commercialize discoveries by a co-owner, the late Richard Smalley, in nanotechnology. Ensysce CEO Lynn Kirkpatrick co-founded and served as head of ProlX Pharmaceuticals before it was acquired in 2006.
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