U Miami debuts bionanotech institute with drug delivery agenda

Another university is launching a scientific institute as a vehicle to seek a larger piece of the nanotechnology/drug delivery research funding pie.

The University of Miami this week formally launched its bionanotechnology institute with disclosure of a $7.5 million gift from the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation, which has supported previous projects at the university's Miller School of Medicine. Officials are calling the new entity the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation Biomedical Nanotechnology Institute. (Someone find a catchy nickname, at least?)

Of course, $7.5 million doesn't seem like a lot. But as the South Florida Business Journal reports, the institute's organizers see a multiplier effect here on a lot of levels. Investigators from engineering and medical disciplines already at the University are now more closely linked under the institute's umbrella, and plans call for adding many more researchers down the line. Initially housing 20 scientists, the institute could help create as many as 100 additional new jobs and lure $100 million in new funding in the next five years, institute co-director Dr. Richard Cote told the publication.

Currently, the institute's 20 researchers are exploring how to use nanomaterials to carry drugs to tumors and help repair damaged bones, the story notes. But there will be a more general focus covering a wide mission, including a mandate to develop "more targeted delivery of highly specialized treatments."

Someday soon, we may see some companies with new drug delivery technologies spinning out of the institute. Cote told the South Florida Business Journal that one of his major goals involves spinning off discoveries from the institute into companies.

- here's the release
- read the South Florida Business Journal story