By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2017, The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
NanoMed Targeting Systems, an early stage company founded in Oklahoma, is developing a state-of-the-art magnetically targeted drug delivery system utilizing nanotechnology to dramatically change the lives of millions of people worldwide suffering from atrial fibrillation.
As happens so often in the world of startups, there’s a bit of serendipity in how this startup came about.
Back in 2007, a group of medical companies from Israel visited the U.S. on an information exchange. Alex Harel, a retired Israeli Air Force lieutenant colonel, serial entrepreneur, and now NanoMed CEO, was in the group. He came to talk nanotechnology with scientists at the University of Indiana, but since the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center was also included in the trip, he came here as well.
On the visit, Harel met Kenneth Dormer, Ph.D., an OU Health Sciences Center scientist and researcher working in nanoparticles and nanotechnology. They talked about their work. One thing led to another, and NanoMed was formed utilizing proprietary magnetic nanotechnology licensed from the Health Sciences Center.
NanoMed’s first application is the treatment of atrial fibrillation, the most common cardiac arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation is found in 5 percent of people over 65 and 10 percent of those over 80. It’s a progressive disease which is typically initially treated with blood thinners and beta blockers, and then, as the disease develops, with a highly invasion procedure known as RF ablation.
NanoMed is developing an alternative procedure in which magnetic nanoparticles carrying a therapeutic payload are injected into the blood stream and directed magnetically to the targeted area in the body. NanoMed has successfully completed much of the preclinical work and is advancing toward Phase I clinical trials.
“When we started, we were uncertain about this wild idea of inserting a payload with nanomagnetic technology,” Harel said. “Now that it’s working, we believe that it can do the job we faster, safer, and with a less expensive procedure.”
Here’s what we really like about this deal.
NanoMed is building a cross-disciplinary solution that is a convergence of leading-edge technologies — including OU’s world class capabilities in heart rhythm — that has the potential to be life-changing for the millions of people suffering from the effects of atrial fibrillation.
Experts from across the world are collaborating to build a solution that patients and health care professionals really need. One only has to look to NanoMed’s advisory board to appreciate the scientific expertise that’s propelling this company.
“I’m very much looking forward to seeing the first patient with successful treatment and bringing something good to humanity,” Harel said.
This is what breakthroughs in biotech require — a passion for helping patients, shared intelligence, and a willingness to cooperate across functions, states, and even countries. And a little serendipity.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology and is an integral part of Oklahoma’s Innovation Model. Email Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.