Getting drugs to specific disease sites while limiting or eliminating systemic toxicity is the pursuit of many drug delivery companies. EPIcyte Pharmaceutical Inc.'s approach is to target the receptors found on the surfaces of epithelial tissues, because a wide range of diseases originate at the epithelial layer. According to the company, these include more than 50 percent of cancers and 90 percent of both infections and inflammatory conditions.

"We've developed a one-way ticket to the surfaces of epithelial tissues," said Mich Hein, co-founder and president. "We've been able to capture a structure and composition of molecules that are recognized by polyimmunoglobulin receptors on the surface of the tissue. We use those molecules as a transport across the epithelial layer to the mucosal surface, which is the surface at risk for infection and attack."