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12:00 AM
 | 
Nov 14, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Aura: Protein particles deliver siRNA

Aura's nanoparticles selectively target tumors without needing target ligands

Most lipid-based nanoparticles in development for delivering therapeutic siRNA to tumors have limited effectiveness because they lack tumor-targeting ligands and can degrade before releasing their siRNA cargo. Aura Biosciences Inc. believes its Nanosmart nanoparticles will have broad utility in diagnosing and treating cancer because they deliver intact compounds to tumors even though they too do not require tumor-targeting ligands.

Aura's nanoparticles are composed of an undisclosed modified recombinant viral protein that mimics the cell-penetrating properties of viruses, according to founder and CEO Elisabet de los Pinos. She said the virus uses the protein to escape clearance by intracellular endosomes during natural infections.

Once inside the cell, the nanoparticles are transported to the cell nucleus and peri-nuclear region. "In the case of siRNA delivery, this is thought to enhance to efficacy of gene knockdown," she said.

The properties of the viral protein also make the particles metabolically stable outside cells, giving them...

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