Jerusalem-based Yissum has formed a spin-off company Nanolymf, which will be dedicated to advancing a nanotechnology controlled-release drug delivery platform.
The biotechnology start-up company was founded as a subsidiary of Israel-based Shizim and will advance the technology, which has been exclusively licensed from Yissum.
The platform increases the bioavailability of orally administered lipophilic drugs, which are poorly soluble in water, by bypassing the intestinal and liver metabolic filters.
"The ability to deliver lipophilic drugs orally while bypassing specific potent barriers in the intestine and the liver carries tremendous potential," Yissum chief executive Nava Swersky said.
"Professor [Simon] Benita . . . has once again demonstrated his ingenuity in developing a novel mechanism addressing many unmet medical needs. Shizim . . . is an excellent partner for launching this new company."
Lipophilic drugs are poorly water soluble and so have limited bioavailability. Only 25 per cent of the drug is absorbed when administered orally because they activate an intestinal pump barrier and are metabolised in the intestines and liver.
The oral route is therefore limited and many of these drugs are instead injected.
The Nanolymf technology is able to bypass the intestine and liver filters without altering the drug molecules or affecting the normal physiological activity of the metabolic filters.
The technology has been successfully tested on animals, resulting in 2.4 times higher bioavailability of the model drug Tacrolimus in large animals and is now ready for starting clinical trials on humans.
"We are very excited with the potential of Nanolymf's technology to offer a significant breakthrough in the oral administration of many drugs and encouraged by the extraordinary pre-clinical results," Nanolymf founder, chief executive and chairman Yossi Bornstein said.
Nanolymf has acquired exclusive rights and Yissum will receive royalties, sublicense fees and an equity stake in Nanolymf.
The company has raised about $500,000 from private investors and is seeking to raise an additional $2m to fund initial clinical studies.