Electronic company Unidym is spinning out Ensysce Biosciences, which will pursue medical applications of carbon nanotubes. Unidym reports that it has licensed its nanotechnology patent portfolio to Ensysce for this field of use and in return holds a significant equity position in Ensysce.
Terms of the licensing arrangement include upfront licensing fees and ongoing royalties. Unidym will also provide contract services to Ensysce, including supplies of research-grade nanotubes as well as back-office and accounting support. Initial operating costs of the new venture, including studies that Ensysce will finance, will be supported by an angel investor.
Ensysce says that it will immediately begin working with chemists and clinicians. The firm will fund ongoing animal research using carbon nanotubes for delivery of siRNAs, which is led by Bruce Weisman, Ph.D., at Rice University and Garth Powis, D. Phil., M.D., at the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The company will also support work at Stanford University being led by Hongjie Dai, Ph.D., that is focused on the delivery of chemotherapy drugs such as taxol and doxorubicin.
Ensysce reports that it is also looking at novel ways of using carbon nanotubes to directly treat tumor cells. It will fund a team led by Lon Wilson, Ph.D., of Rice University and Steven Curley, M.D., of the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. This team is preparing to move a cancer therapy that uses carbon nanotubes exposed during treatment to RF radiation into clinical trials.