Bioresponsive Nanoparticle Aggregates

Bioresponsive materials offer a promising commercial opportunity and demonstrate great potential in the medical diagnostics and drug delivery sector. Compared with conventional chemistry, they are more sensitive, simple to use and more compatible with biological samples. Enzymes in patient samples such as blood and urine can be diagnostic of a number of disease conditions including HIV, Hepatitis C, various cancers, as well as Candida and MRSA infections. Hence bioresponsive materials, such as nanoparticle aggregates that can be triggered to switch between assembled/disassembled structures by enzymes, are valuable in developing specific diagnostic tests.

The invention is a novel method for the reversible assembly/disassembly of nanoparticle aggregates which is triggered by enzyme reactions. The nanomaterial consists of a chain of amino acids which can be selected to create specificity for different enzymes. This offers the potential to use the system for a wide range of applications. The enzyme cleaves the amino acid chain and causes disassembly of the nanoparticle aggregates. This is observable through a visible colour change which can also be quantified using a spectrometer.

• Real-time monitoring of enzyme activity
• High enzyme specificity achievable
• Read-out is rapid – within 5 minutes
• Single population of nanoparticles required
• 1 million times more sensitive than existing diagnostic tests (down to zeptogram/ml detection of enzymes)
• Simple, does not require complex post-processing or sophisticated equipment

Target Market Potential markets include:
• Medical diagnostics
• Drug delivery systems to reduce drug dose and improve efficacy of delivery to the local disease site
• In vitro drug screening to determine functional activity of enzyme-inhibiting drugs
• Bacteria-contaminated water
• Detect biological agents in war-fare zones

IP & Commercial Opportunity
Experiments have provided proof-of-concept of the use of the enzyme-responsive gold nanoparticles in bio-sensing, specifically for the detection of the protease related to prostate cancer, antichymotrypsin-prostate specific antigen. The owners have filed a patent on the technology (WO07/063300) and is seeking partners who would be interested in licensing and developing the technology further for specific applications.

Attached files:

Type of Offer: Licensing

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