New York, N.Y., October 22, 2013 -- Lauren Sciences LLC, a privately-held biotechnology company furthering development of V-Smart™ therapeutics based upon its novel nanovesicle platform technology, announced today successful completion by its research team at Ben-Gurion University of the first stage of developing a V-Smart™ therapeutic for the treatment of neuro-HIV. The development of this V-Smart™ therapeutic, that systemically delivers tenofovir across the blood brain barrier (BBB) into the brain for treatment of neuro-HIV, was supported by a grant from The Campbell Foundation.
The Lauren Sciences' research team demonstrated delivery to the brain of tenofovir at levels considerably above therapeutic concentrations. Delivery of tenofovir was achieved by systemic administration of the company's V-Smart™ nanovesicles customized for maximal tenofovir delivery. Tenofovir is one of the most frequently used antiretroviral drugs in the multi-drug treatment of HIV infection. However, since tenofovir does not cross the BBB following systemic administration, the treatment is not effective against viral reservoirs in the central nervous system (CNS). The persistence of HIV in the CNS (called "neuro-HIV") is a major contributor to HIV-associated neurological impairment and is perceived to be a major cause of inability to completely control systemic HIV despite long-term highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART).
"On behalf of our research team at Ben-Gurion University, we thank The Campbell Foundation for their past support," said Susan Rosenbaum, J.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lauren Sciences. "The Campbell Foundation's award provided an opportunity to develop an innovative V-Smart™ therapeutic for neuro-HIV and the successful outcome confirms the strong potential of our delivery system to overcome the challenge of developing drugs that cross the BBB."
"One of our Foundation's major goals is to find a disease-modifying therapy for HIV/AIDS," said Ken Rapkin, Program Officer of Campbell. "The challenges associated with the delivery of HIV drugs through the BBB represent a critical unmet need in the field of AIDS research. This project's success bodes well for the future of HIV drugs."
"Our V-Smart™ therapeutic formulated with tenofovir has promise as an effective new treatment for AIDS patients," said Irwin Hollander, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Development, Lauren Sciences. "We hope it will be able to stop proliferation of, or even help eradicate, the neuro-HIV that is presumed to cause neurological impairment and systemic HIV reinfection in patients under long-term treatment. It is anticipated that our successful delivery of tenofovir to the brain will lead to future efficacy studies in neuro-HIV pre-clinical models and, thereafter, clinical studies in patients with HIV."
"Our latest studies demonstrate that this novel V-Smart™ therapeutic delivers therapeutic concentrations of tenofovir across the BBB and releases it in the brain," said Eliahu Heldman, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Ben-Gurion University and Chief Scientific Officer of Lauren Sciences. "Our next goal is to demonstrate that the V-Smart™ - delivered tenofovir reduces the viral load in those brain regions. The success of this V-Smart™ therapeutic should ultimately provide more effective treatment for AIDS patients and improve their lives."
About the V-Smart™ Platform
V-Smart™ is a platform technology that can be used for a variety of uses including delivery of therapeutic drugs. The V-Smart™ drug delivery system is based on novel nanovesicles that have unique superiority to other nanovesicles, such as liposomes. Major advantages of the V-Smart™ nanovesicles include: penetrability through BBB without barrier disruption, specific targeting, selective release at target sites, high encapsulation capacity (e.g., small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acids) without requiring modification of active drug, stability with controlled release mechanisms, oral and parenteral administration, wide therapeutic window potential.
About Lauren Sciences LLC
Lauren Sciences LLC is a privately-held New York biotechnology company focused on developing its V-Smart™ platform to create a robust pipeline of V-Smart™ therapeutics consisting of CNS-active drugs that normally do not cross the BBB. The company's lead programs are for neuro-HIV and Parkinson's disease (for which the company recently was awarded its second grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation). Additional pipeline programs include other CNS disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, GBM (brain cancer), ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs), among others. The company's Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Eliahu Heldman, is Professor Emeritus at Ben-Gurion University, Israel where he, with Dr. Sarina Grinberg and Dr. Charles Linder, developed the V-Smart™ technology and lead the Lauren Sciences research team.
About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Established in 1969 with the mandate to bring development to the Negev region, BGU is internationally-recognized for its unique pioneering spirit that combines outstanding academics and research with a commitment to the community. With more than 20,000 students, five faculties and a number of internationally-acclaimed research institutes, the University has become a world leader in interdisciplinary research in cutting-edge fields that range from desert studies to nano- and biotechnology, Hebrew literature to international medicine.
About The Campbell Foundation
The Campbell Foundation was established as a private, independent foundation in 1986 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn. It was Mr. Zahn's wish that his foundation support nonprofit organizations conducting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, and related conditions and illnesses. The focus of the Campbell Foundation's funding lies in alternative, nontraditional avenues of research that will have direct clinical impact/relevancy to the HIV care/research community within five to seven years. The Board of Directors remains dedicated to pursuing Mr. Zahn's original goals. The Foundation's first year of substantial funding was in 1995. Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) has identified The Campbell Foundation as one of the top 25 private philanthropic institutions supporting seminal research about HIV/AIDS.