Startup gains funds to test tumor-targeting tech

A Cambridge, MA-based biotech startup has garnered an additional $12.4 million in venture capital to help advance a new technology designed to precisely deliver drugs in the human body. The money will be used to finance the company's first clinical trial.

Bind Biosciences is developing technology originally discovered by MIT's Robert Langer and Harvard's Omid Farokhzad. The two scientists hatched the idea of creating a new delivery vehicle out of a special polymer, loading it with a known cancer drug and then wrapping the vehicle in polyethylene glycol so it would escape detection, and destruction, by the immune system. A targeting ligand is used to direct the nanoparticle to its intended tumor destination.

On the same day that Bind announced the new venture round, the company also named Ed Schnipper, M.D., as its new chief medical officer. Schnipper played a key role in the FDA approval of Doxil, the leading nanoparticle-based oncology drug.

Bind's initial development program is focused on finding a better way to deliver docetaxel, a well-known and highly toxic chemotherapy. Bind is led by Scott Minick, a venture veteran with a clinical background that includes work on liposomes in drug delivery. The new nanoparticles now headed for the clinic, he says, have much greater clinical potential, with a wide array of possible uses in cancer and a number of other diseases as well.

"We saw the broad impact that Bind's nanotechnology platform can have and the team's ability to rapidly develop important therapeutic products based on the company's proprietary technology," said Eric Milledge, venture partner of Endeavour Vision and the former Group Chairman at Johnson & Johnson. Endeavour led the latest round.

- here's the Bind release
- and here's an earlier article from the London Times for more on the technology