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Right now, only one company is aggressively pursuing new drug delivery methods using structures developed for nanotechnology. The company is C-Sixty, and it is based in Toronto, Canada.
C-60 is so called because of its primary research interest: the buckyball. Buckyballs (as we've already discussed) are hollow spheres built out of 60 carbons in a mix of hexagons and pentagons.
At the time of writing, C60 has five drug therapies in development and holds nine patents. They also have another eight or so patents waiting for approval. With so much intellectual content secure, the company is in a fabulous position to be one of the first companies to bring nanotechnology into the coveted biotechnology market.
Current advanced drug delivery methods focus on benzene rings. Unfortunately, benzene rings are both unstable and toxic at certain dosages. Buckyballs offer great stability and non-toxic results for the same payload.
Targeted drug delivery has long been the holy grail of biotechnology. Being able to deliver a specific drug to a specific location would improve treatment speed and effectiveness. In order for targeted drug delivery to work, two conditions must be met: the carrier must have internal space that can carry a drug, and the carrier must have attachment points tailored for its target location.
Buckyballs hold all the advantages in the race for affordable drug deliver. They are extremely stable and offer 60 attachment points (one per carbon) compared to benzene's 6 attachment points.
Another advantage of using carbon buckyballs is the fact that they absorb into the bloodstream easier and can get past the membranes within the brain.
The world is watching C60 as they move towards releasing their first commercial product. They have already attracted almost $7 million in venture capital from a variety of private sources.
One of their first and most coveted projects is a protease inhibitor that can treat an HIV infection. It is expected to pass testing and development within four years. A buckyball-delivered protease inhibitor is attractive because a patient's body could not develop drug resistance since a buckyball is not shaped like any other drug on the market.
C60 is also working on a number of other projects to treat rare and thus far untreatable diseases with targeted buckyball drug delivery.