What is Nantechnology?
Nanotechnology is often called “atomic crafts.” A nanometer is one billionth of a meter. As a comparison, most atoms are between 0.1 and 0.2 nanometers large, a strand of DNA is two nanometers wide and red blood cells are about 7,000 nanometers in diameter.
Within pharmaceutical development, nanotechnology concerns nanoparticles which can carry other pharmaceutical agents and deliver them to the desired location within the body. This is especially useful for drugs that have poor water solubility. Through the formation of water-soluble nanoparticles, substances that are normally very difficult to manage can be used in conjunction with standard medical equipment and solutions. This can be done in a variety of ways. A common method is to connect the active drug molecule to a larger carrier molecule, e.g. a protein, and allowing the protein to deliver the molecule to where it must operate.
What is XR17?
At Oasmia, we have developed a type of nanotechnology where insoluble substances are contained within a nano-sized water soluble enclosure, a so-called micelle. Only certain molecules, called surfactants, can form micelles. This is due to one end of the molecule being water soluble while the other end is fat-soluble. When these molecules are in water, they form spheres where the fat-soluble ends fall inside the sphere while the water-soluble components are directed outwards. In this way, the fat-soluble ends are “protected” from water. This property means that other molecules can also be enclosed within the spheres and can then be released when the sphere is dissolved.
Surfactants are known in pharmaceutical terms as excipients. XR17 is Oasmia’s proprietary excipient based on Vitamin A. It forms micelles that are between 20 and 60 nanometers in size. One property that makes XR17 special is that it can also form micelles with water-soluble substances. This increases its potential uses significantly. Once XR17 has delivered the encapsulated molecule or molecules to the target, the excipient is metabolized naturally.
This technique is not only limited to one molecule, XR17 can also enclose several molecules in micelles simultaneously regardless of the molecules solubility in water. For example, this allows for two cytostatics to be given in a single infusion, when typically this would require two infusions. This is the principle behind Oasmia’s novel drug candidate OAS-19.