MIT Spinoff Receives NSF Grant to Develop Nanoparticle Glaucoma Therapy

December 3, 2014 - Arlington, MA

LayerBio is an MIT spin-off developing novel drug delivery products for ophthalmology and wound care applications.  The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded LayerBio a $150,000 small business innovation research grant to support development of its nanoparticle-based glaucoma therapy.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. In the United States, an estimated 2.2 million people suffer from glaucoma.  The typical first-line treatment for glaucoma is a topical eye drops.  In many cases, lack of continuous release and issues with patient compliance limit the effectiveness of topical eye drops for preventing progression of glaucoma. 

"It is critical that we develop long-acting alternatives to eye drops that provide around-the-clock coverage for patients suffering for glaucoma," commented Dr. Ken Mandell, LayerBio's Founder and CEO. "The ability to offer continuous coverage and guaranteed compliance is vital to preventing progression of disease," added Dr. Mandell.

LayerBio is developing a biodegradable nanoparticle drug delivery system for sustained release of an existing FDA-approved glaucoma drug. It will be delivered through a simple office-based procedure and is expected to last a minimum of 4 to 6 months per dose. This approach has the potential to simplify the treatment regimen and improve the standard of care for patients with glaucoma.

LayerBio's proprietary LayerForm™ technology is based on layer-by-layer fabrication techniques invented in the laboratory of its co-Founder, Dr. Paula Hammond at MIT.  Advantages of LayerForm™ include its flexibility to incorporate small molecules, siRNA and protein-based therapeutics alike; its ease of manufacturing and scalability; and the ability to precisely tune the release of drugs for durations ranging from days to months.

"We are committed to developing products that address unmet medical needs and advance the standard f care for patients," commented Layerbio's Vice President, Aleksandr White. Other products currently in development by LayerBio include a sustained-release product for cataract surgery and a novel wound dressing that that releases growth factors to promote wound healing. 

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